The Pentagon is examining options for how it can train more Ukrainian forces to use Switchblade drones that the US is providing to the Ukrainian military, according to a senior defense official.
Future trainings might occur with the US troops who have deployed to bolster NATO’s eastern flank over the past several months amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the official told reporters Wednesday.
The Pentagon was looking at “a range of options” for training Ukraine on the Switchblade drones and other weapons systems, the official said, on top of the trainings that occurred with Ukrainians who already were in the United States for previously scheduled engagements.
One option would be the troops that are on NATO’s eastern flank, the official said, adding that no decisions had been made yet.
“We have absolutely added to our ability in these eastern flank countries,” the official said. “Soldiers with various sets of capabilities and various professional skills, whether it’s artillery, long-range missiles, air defense, infantry, armor — you name it. And so if there’s a need for additional training to be done on any systems that are provided to Ukraine, we will look at a range of options for how that training would have to be delivered.”
Additionally, the official said that the US continues to see “significant morale issues” anecdotally among Russian forces, a senior US defense official said Wednesday.
The official said that the US has recent evidence that Russian troops “have been disillusioned by this war, weren’t properly informed, weren’t properly trained, weren’t ready, not just physically, but weren’t ready mentally for what they were about to do.”
The US also has indications that Russian officers are “frustrated with their troops’ performance, frustrated with their colleagues’ performance,” said the official.
The official also reminded reporters on a background call that “almost half” of the invading Russian forces are “conscripts who don’t receive a lot of training.”
“So, there still are morale and unit cohesion problems that are bedeviling the Russians even as they now try to refit, resupply, and focus on a more concentrated geographic area,” the official said.