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Military official says US to continue training security forces in western Ukraine

January 18, 9:44 UTC+3 WASHINGTON
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WASHINGTON, January 18. /TASS/. The United States will focus attention in its program of military assistance to Kiev on the development of a combat training center for Ukrainian troops, Donn Wrenn and Lacey Justinger, public affairs officials of United States Army Europe told TASS.

"The United States will continue training and advising Ukrainian security forces in western Ukraine," Don Wrenn said. He said up to four battalions are to be trained beginning in January.

"The JMTG-U (Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine) mission is currently changing out from being led on the ground from the California Army National Guard to the Oklahoma Army National Guard," he noted.

Lacey Justinger, 7th Army Training Command spokesperson, explained for her part that "this is a continuation of the same training being conducted previously to build Ukraine's capacity for self-defense, only the US forces will begin to focus more on advising the Ukrainians during the development of a combat training center and its institutional-level reforms while also providing oversight on the Ukrainian-led training of its forces, including special operations".

She said four battalions to be trained this year are part of Ukraine’s ground forces. "The Ukrainian forces training consists of defensive-focused skills at the individual and unit levels, along with sustaining internal security operations," the spokesperson added.

"The training center [at Yavorov military training area in the Lvov reigon] and its cadre of Ukrainian instructors are part of the long-term efforts to build professional and enduring Ukrainian security forces at the individual and unit levels to defend Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," she added.

The training center improvements will make it interoperable with NATO standards for infrastructure, equipment, cadre, doctrine and standard operating procedures, Lacey Justinger said.

"The Multinational Joint Commission on Defense Reform and Security Cooperation with Ukraine partnership, which includes Canada, Lithuania, the United Kingdom and the United States, is still in place to assess Ukrainian requirements and prioritize training, equipment and advisory initiatives," she confirmed.

Last year, the US trained six battalions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, while in 2015, the US trained three battalions of the Ukrainian National Guard, with ultranationalists among them as the Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier.

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