US Army General Ben Hodges today confirmed that a battalion of US ground troops will be heading to Ukraine next month to train Ukrainian soldiers to fight against “Russian and rebel” forces.
The Pentagon had been pushing such “training exercises” since summer of 2014, and officials had confirmed late last month that they were intending to do so this spring. The training will be in the far west of the country, near Lviv.
Pentagon officials have been claiming a “Russian invasion” of eastern Ukraine as the justification for their involvement, though the fighting is between the Ukrainian military and ethnic Russian rebels along the border.
Either way, the administration and the Pentagon both seem keen to get involved further in the war, with Gen. Hodges’ comments coming at the same time that the White House is openly talking about sending arms to the Ukrainian military with the aim of, to quote President Obama, further isolating Russia.
The effort is particularly poorly timed since it is also concurrent to France and Germany working with Russia on a ceasefire aimed at ending the war. While the US claims to support the idea of ending the war in theory, all policy decisions are overtly designed not only to escalate the civil war, but to transform it into a more direct proxy war between the US and Russia.