US troops stationed at an airbase in Poland are helping Ukrainians maintain their US-provided weapons remotely via encrypted digital chats, Defense One reported on Sunday.
The US troops are helping the Ukrainians fix and maintain HIMARS rocket systems, Javelin anti-tank launchers, howitzers, and other equipment. The Americans and Ukrainians have 14 encrypted chats, one for each type of weapon. The Ukrainians are able to send video clips thanks to Starlink satellite terminals, which give them internet access.
After diagnosing the issue, the US maintenance specialists can send the Ukrainian troops any parts they may need. One unnamed US lieutenant colonel described the process in comments to Defense One.
“Ukrainians are going to identify a need, the experts are going to diagnose …what’s needed and either walk them through it or put parts on order. And then we use the American supply system to get that part here to transfer right down,” the lieutenant colonel said.
The report did not disclose the name of the airbase in Poland but described it as “an airbase that could be among the first targets if Russia expands the war beyond Ukraine.”
Since the start of the war, Poland has been a major hub for US and NATO weapons that have been shipped into Ukraine. Russia has shown no sign that it plans to target NATO territory, but increasing US support for the war does risk provoking a response.
Russia recently warned that if the US provides Ukraine with longer-range missiles that Kyiv seeks, it would make Washington a party to the conflict, and Moscow would be forced to respond. But so far, the Biden administration has been hesitant to give Ukraine the weapons, which have a range of about 190 miles.