US and Allies Continue Training Ukrainian Troops Amid Counter-Offensive
U.S. trainers still have the capacity to train more Ukrainians, a spokesman said.
The U.S. continues to train Ukrainian infantry battalions and has plans to prepare yet more troops now that 12 trained brigades have returned to Ukraine for the counter-offensive, according to the U.S. military officials.
European nations are training three brigades, with nine different countries supporting the training, said Cmdr. Lenaya Rotklein, a spokeswoman for the unit responsible for coordinating security assistance to Ukraine, the Security Assistance Group-Ukraine.
The U.S. is also training one tank battalion and two national guard battalions on combined arms, said Col. Martin L. O'Donnell, a spokesperson for U.S. Army Europe and Africa. Combined arms training teaches soldiers how to coordinate with tanks, artillery, and planes during combat.
And the U.S. is planning to train additional units, Rotklein said. “We will continue to provide Ukraine with the means to fight and defend itself,” Rotklein said.
The U.S. combined arms training for Ukrainian soldiers began in mid-January as part of a U.S. push to help prepare them for a large-scale counter-offensive against Russia, which still occupies around 17% of Ukrainian territory.
The 12 trained brigades that have returned to Ukraine are expected to play a major part in the ongoing counteroffensive. Ukraine’s attacking forces face long-entrenched Russian positions defended by soldiers, tanks, artillery, and aircraft.
The training for these brigades included attacking mock Russian defenses, Gen. Darryl Williams, commander of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, said at the Conference of European Armies last week.
The Ukrainian army swelled from a pre-February 2022 force of 250,000 to 700,000 soldiers following Russia’s full-scale invasion. Many troops receive just a month of training in Ukraine before reporting to the battlefield.
To improve Ukraine’s chances against the invasion forces, foreign nations have trained around 67,000 Ukrainians at bases outside Ukraine, according to a June 14 Defense Department press release..
And the U.S. could train even more troops: O’Donnell said the Army is “not at the max for training.”
The total number of troops set for training is based on Ukraine’s request and authorization by the U.S. European Command and the Department of Defense, O'Donnell added.
The number of Ukrainians that the U.S. trains is set after Ukraine makes a request for a certain number of troops. U.S. European Command and the Department of Defense then must authorize that number.