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WASHINGTON, March 17. /TASS/. The United States plans to begin training of Ukraine’s national guardsmen in April, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, Commanding General US Army Europe, said on Tuesday at a Defense Writers Group breakfast.
He said the training was "supposed to begin next week" at Yavorovsky testing ground in Ukraine’s western Lviv region, but was delayed "to try and provide some more space to see that the ceasefire and the full Minsk agreement could be successfully implemented."
"The US Government wants to see a diplomatic solution, wants to see Minsk successfully implemented, the US is working with allies in Europe to get there," LTG Hodges said.
He noted that in line with the US authorities’ plans, the training "will resume sometime in April." "But I don't know the specific date of when that will happen. And I haven't received an order," he said.
It is planned to train three battalions of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry /referred to in Ukraine as national guards/, which are to undergo an eight week cycle each in sequence. "We are taking three battalions of the 173 Airborne Brigade (deployed in Italy’s Vicenza) and match up those battalions with the three Ukrainian battalions and they would go through in sequence, not three at the same time," he said.
The training program, according to Hodges, will include drills in "rear area security, route security, in protecting critical infrastructure." Apart from that, the US military will help Ukrainian troops improve "combat life saving," "operate in a very heavily contested electronic warfare environment," and "assist them in surviving the intensive artillery and rocket fire."
"The beginning of the training absolutely does not signify an assessment that Minsk has failed," he added.