The US is increasing the pace of training the Ukrainian military to use Western weapons.
Hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers are being trained at European military bases in the use of howitzers, drones and radars, reports The Hill, citing the Pentagon.
More than 220 Ukrainian soldiers have been trained to use American-style artillery mounts, in particular M777 howitzers. This is a British-designed field towed self-propelled gun, capable of hitting targets at 40 km with 155-mm Excalibur shells. Washington promised to deliver 90 of them to Ukraine.
Another 20 Ukrainian soldiers, on May 1, completed a week-long training course on the use of the latest Phoenix Ghost "suicide" drone – loitering munition. It was developed by the American Aevex Aerospace and has the same capabilities as AeroVironment's Switchblade. This drone can be used for aerial surveillance, but its main purpose is attacking. Earlier, 121 of such UAVs were handed to Ukraine.
The US Department of Defense spokesman added that more than 50 Ukrainians will start training this week. Washington is expecting the 50 soldiers, after returning to Ukraine, to share the acquired skills to other military personnel.
"We are giving them a crash course on the new equipment that Ukraine will receive. The goal is to get them back to Ukraine as soon as possible so that they can train their comrades in the use of this equipment," said General Joseph Gilbert, commander of the 7th Army Training Command in Europe.
According to Gilbert, over the past seven years, the United States has trained about 23,000 Ukrainian soldiers, at a cost of $126 million. The training was provided mainly by the US National Guard troops.
Gilbert noted that the soldiers they host at European bases are absolutely motivated and incredibly professional.