Dove Magazine

US trains Ukraine army to fight separatists

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (left) shakes hand with a Ukrainian serviceman during an opening ceremony of the joint Ukraine-US military exercise at the Yavoriv training ground on April 20, 2015 in the region of Lviv. PHOTO | GENYA SAVILOV

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (left) shakes hand with a Ukrainian serviceman during an opening ceremony of the joint Ukraine-US military exercise at the Yavoriv training ground on April 20, 2015 in the region of Lviv. PHOTO | GENYA SAVILOV |  AFP

In Summary

  • Heavy arms fire rages in the east despite a February ceasefire.
  • Conflict has dragged relations between Russia and the West to their lowest point since the Cold War.

YAVORIV

US paratroopers launched a training mission on Monday for Ukrainian government forces who will fight pro-Russian separatists in the east, angering Moscow as the deadly conflict rumbles on.

President Petro Poroshenko welcomed troops from the US 173rd Airborne Brigade for Operation Fearless Guardian in a rain-soaked ceremony at a military base in Yavoriv, western Ukraine.

“We are the eyewitnesses and direct participants in forming the new Ukrainian military, which like the phoenix is returning after a long time,” Poroshenko told the assembled troops.

Officials said some 300 US troops will train 900 members of Ukraine’s National Guard, which is deployed in the east where heavy arms fire continues despite a February ceasefire.

US Army Major Michael Weisman said the American mission would provide training in individual and medical skills and defence manoeuvres, with the kind of weapons already in use by the Ukrainian forces such as AK-47 assault rifles.

As the US troops arrived in Ukraine last week, Russia warned the move could “destabilise” the ex-Soviet country, where the conflict has killed more than 6,000 people in the past year.

LOWEST POINT

The United States is one of Ukraine’s biggest backers in a conflict that has dragged relations between Russia and the West to their lowest point since the Cold War.

Poroshenko called the exercises the first of their kind and “one of the biggest and most important demonstrations of solidarity” between his pro-Western government and its US allies.

“The circumstances under which these exercises are being held are also unique,” he added, referring to the conflict in the east.

Washington has sent $75 million worth of non-lethal military aid to Kiev, but has so far held off from supplying weapons.

“We are not providing weapons,” Weisman said. “What we are merely doing is getting them better with theirs.”

Kiev and the West have cited growing evidence that Russia is arming separatists who control parts of eastern Ukraine and sending troops to fight alongside them, but Russia has repeatedly denied this.

Moscow accuses the United States of backing the uprising that preceded the ousting of former pro-Russia president Viktor Yanukovych in February last year. Moscow subsequently annexed the Crimean peninsula.

US troops have trained with Ukrainian forces in the past, but it is the first time Washington has trained members of Ukraine’s recently re-formed National Guard.

The US troops “are going to teach us all they know, from individual preparation to more difficult things such as shooting, communication between units and planning operations,” said Oleksandr Poroniuk, a spokesman for the Ukrainian army.

Recommended For You.

11 Dead as Nigerian Troops Repel Boko Haram Suicide Bombers
MAIDUGURI, NIGERIA — Battling multiple bombers strapped with suicide vests, Nigerian troops and civilian self-defense fighters repelled the fiercest Boko Haram

Related Articles:

Three dead after Mandera bus is swept by floods
Attackers of foreign nationals should be prosecuted – Makhura
US in warning to Kiir
Britain refusing asylum to Eritreans on back of discredited report
World Athletics Ex-Head Diack Under Investigation
Malawi Will Not Arrest, Prosecute Gays Despite Anti-Gay Laws
S. Sudan Government, Rebels Again Aim for Peace
South Sudan Facing Huge Humanitarian Crisis, UN Says

Leave a Reply

Advertisement

Developed by Amitabha Technology, Inc.