Ukraine Coming to America? Pentagon Considering Training Ukrainian Soldiers On U.S. Soil: On December 15, the U.S. Department of Defense announced plans for combined arms training for Ukrainian soldiers that would focus on ensuring troops can safely operate advanced weaponry provided by the West. It was first announced that the United States would train those soldiers in a third country, but a report from Politico on Friday suggests that plans may have changed.
Pentagon Press secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement in December that the move was a “logical next step” in training efforts that began in 2014.
“While there’s an understandable focus on the equipment being provided to Ukraine, training is and has been essential to ensuring Ukraine has the skilled forces necessary to better defend themselves,” Ryder also said at the time.
The original statement came amid rumors that the United States was preparing to send Patriot missile systems to Ukraine. Now that those plans have been confirmed, it looks as though the Pentagon believes Ukrainian soldiers can be best trained on how to use them while on U.S. soil.
Citing two Defense Department officials, Politico reported on Friday that the Pentagon is looking to train Ukrainian soldiers to operate the advanced surface-to-air missile system at a U.S. military base located in the United States.
The training would take several months, given that a large number of troops is required to operate a single Patriot battery. According to the Pentagon, the United States has around 90 troops assigned to one Patriot battery, meaning that hundreds of Ukrainian troops may need to be trained in the United States before taking their knowledge back to Ukraine.
The Plans Aren’t Set In Stone
While the United States has already confirmed that Patriot missiles are on their way to Ukraine, there has reportedly been no decision made as to whether soldiers will be trained on U.S. soil or in Europe.
According to officials who spoke to Politico, the Department of Defense is also considering the possibility of conducting some training in the United States and some in a third party in Europe. Training in Europe could take place in Poland, or at a U.S. base in another third country.
If the training were to take place in the U.S., it could take place at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where the most advanced weapons simulators and instructors are currently based, according to the unnamed officials.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.