Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Marine Corps could expand training mission in Ukraine

Marine Corps could expand training mission in Ukraine: Marine leaders are considering expanding the Corps' mission in Ukraine by training local troops who could be tasked with taking on Russian-backed separatists.

Marines could deploy to the Eastern European country to train the Ukrainian naval infantry, said Capt. Richard Ulsh, a spokesman for Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa.

The move would follow a July 25 announcement by the State Department that the U.S. military would expand its mission in the country to include training conventional forces. U.S. troops were previously only authorized to train Ukrainian national guardsmen.

It also follows an 11-day exercise the Marine Corps concluded in Ukraine in late July. About 56 Marines from Minnesota-based 4th Law Enforcement Battalion participated in Exercise Saber Guardian, a multinational exercise.

About 1,800 military personnel from the U.S. and several European partners participated in Saber Guardian. The exercise was held at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center outside Yavoriv in western Ukraine, near Poland — far from Crimea.