Monday, July 27, 2015

US extends training to Ukrainian military

US extends training to Ukrainian military: The United States is to begin training Ukrainian army troops in an expansion to its military involvement in the divided country, the State Department said Friday.

US troops have already deployed in small numbers to Ukraine to train National Guard forces, but under the new plan would also take on regular military units.

This will bring the total cost of a security assistance package for the embattled country -- locked in a conflict with pro-Russian separatists -- to $244 million since 2014.

But a spokesman said the training would take place in the west of the country, far from the frontline in the rebellious east and did not mark a major change in US strategy.

"This is going to be small unit training conducted by US Army Europe for Ukrainian Ministry of Defense personnel to help strengthen Ukraine's internal defense capabilities," Mark Toner told reporters.

"This training is part of our long-running defense cooperation with Ukraine and is taking place at the invitation of the Ukraine Government," he said.