AP Photo/Andriy Andriyenko
- The US on Sunday started advanced training for Ukrainian troops, including prep for large-scale combat.
- Training will focus on combat that combines tanks, artillery, and combat vehicles.
- The advanced training hints at larger conflicts to come, as Ukraine warns of new Russian offensive.
The US on Sunday began giving more advanced training to Ukrainian troops, suggesting that US authorities expect a ramping up of the conflict over the coming months, with Ukrainian forces aggressively taking the fight to Russia.
Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told The Washington Post on Sunday that training had started that day and was designed to make Ukrainian troops more effective against Russian forces, with a focus on preparing them for large-scale combat.
The training is aimed at getting troops to maximise the effectiveness of combined weapons: their tanks, artillery, and combat vehicles, Milley said, according to the Post.
Around 500 Ukrainian soldiers will go through its initial version, the outlet reported.
The news comes as Ukraine predicts a greater offensive from Russia after a winter slowdown in the fighting, and as the US and its partners commit their most advanced weaponry yet to Ukraine.
Ukraine said that it expects a fresh Russian offensive in the Spring, with Ukrainian intelligence warning that Russia plans to mobilize 500,000 additional troops from mid-January — a significantly larger number than the 300,000 soldiers Russia mobilized in September and October last year.
In the past, American training of Ukrainian troops has been smaller in scale, and focused on using specific weapons they have been sent, the Associated Press reported.
This latest training is designed to help Ukraine better launch offensives against Russia and to counter Russia’s own attacks, Gen. Milley said.
The Pentagon announced the new training in December, but did not say when it would begin.
It also comes as the US ramps up the type of weaponry it is sending to Ukraine.
On Sunday, Ukrainian soldiers began arriving in the US for training on the Patriot missile defense system, which the US announced in December that it would provide to Ukraine’s military.
Other allies are also committing increasingly advanced military equipment to Ukraine, with multiple European countries agreeing to send Ukraine tanks for the first time since the conflict began.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday that he expects more heavy weapons to be sent to Ukraine in the near future, telling German outlet Handelsblatt: “We are in a decisive phase of the war.”