1st class of Ukrainian fighter completes advanced US training

Aboard US Airplanes (AP) — A first class of 635 Ukrainian fighters has completed a five-week advanced US training course in Germany on advanced combat skills and armored vehicles. coming spring offensive To the Russians, the Pentagon said Friday.

Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. General Pat Ryder said additional training is already underway at the Grafenwehr training ground and will involve about 1,600 more Ukrainian troops. Completion of the first class coincided with a visit to the base by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, marking the first time Ukrainian soldiers were seen training there.

The first group of Ukrainian troops arrived at the base on 15 January and underwent rigorous training to prepare Bradley’s combat vehicles and M109 Paladins for combat. Bradley and Paladin are two of the many armored vehicles and tanks that the United States and its allies have pledged to Ukraine. The Paladin is a self-propelled howitzer that runs on tracks instead of wheels.

Another Ukrainian army battalion began training in Bradley fighting vehicles two weeks ago, and a field artillery battalion began training in Paladins, Ryder said. This he two forces total about 710 men. Another field artillery unit and a Stryker battalion will begin training next week, involving about 890 soldiers. It will be the first Ukrainian battalion to be trained in the armored personnel carrier Stryker.

Defense leaders say the latest training programs will teach troops to combine artillery, armor, and ground forces to effectively move and coordinate company- and battalion-sized units in combat, launching a coordinated attack. is key to expanding Ukraine’s ability to

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has constantly pressured Western allies to rush military aid. Speaking at a major international security conference in Munich on Friday, Zelensky said the delay would fall into Russia’s hands as the war neared its first anniversary.

During a visit to the Grafenwehr training base last month, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley, said the new skills would better prepare Ukrainian forces to counter a surge in Russian aggression. .

“This is not a normal rotation,” he said during a meeting with the U.S. military commander there. “This is the one he is in the moment if he wants to make a difference.”

Training conducted by the 7th Army Training Command includes classroom instruction, fieldwork, and larger combat exercises.