Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told reporters on Sunday that the US has begun its expanded training program of Ukrainian soldiers in Germany, representing Washington’s ever-growing involvement in the war.
On Monday, Milley visited Ukrainian troops being trained by Americans in Grafenwoehr, Germany, sending a message of how important the training program is to Washington.
Up to this point, US training of Ukrainians has focused on specific weapons systems, but the new program is being called “combined arms” training. The Ukrainians will be taught how to coordinate battalion-sized forces using combined artillery, armored units, and ground troops. Ukrainian forces have been undergoing similar training in Britain.
Milley said the initial goal is to train a battalion of about 500 troops and get them back on the battlefield in about six to eight weeks. He also said that the US hopes to deliver new weapons and equipment to Ukraine in time for them to use it “sometime before the spring rains show up. That would be ideal.”
Milley said the US was doing a similar type of training for Ukrainian forces inside Ukraine before Russia’s invasion. The US withdrew troops that were in Ukraine before the invasion, although the Pentagon said in October that US military personnel based at the US embassy in Kyiv began “onsite” weapons inspections in the country.
The Intercept reported in October that US special operations forces and CIA operatives are on the ground in Ukraine, but the Pentagon hasn’t confirmed the covert presence.
The Pentagon is also set to begin training Ukrainian troops on the Patriot air defense missile systems, which is set to take place inside the US at a base in Oklahoma. Since Russia invaded, the only known US training of Ukrainian forces on specific weapons systems has taken place in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.