As concern grows over the buildup of Russian forces near Ukraine’s borders, the Pentagon released a statement giving details about the different troops currently training Ukrainian forces, as well as the various brigades throughout Europe.
The Florida National Guard’s Task Force Gator recently arrived in Ukraine as part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine (JMTG-U) mission, designed to improve the country’s defensive capabilities, the Pentagon said. The JMTG-U was established in 2015, one year after Ukraine was slow to respond to Russia’s invasion of Crimea.
In addition to Task Force Gator, Special Operations Command Europe has a “large role” in training and advising Ukrainian special forces through exercises, communication and coordination “at every echelon,” the statement said.
The Pentagon did not disclose how many special forces were in Ukraine because of operational security concerns.
“Training with our Ukrainian partners cultivates trust, fortifies readiness, and develops relationships, which in turn promotes peace and stability throughout Europe,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Anton Semelroth said in the statement.
The Pentagon would not go into detail about timelines for training, operations or deployments, nor would it say if any schedules have changed in light of the buildup of Russian forces near Ukraine.
Marines from Europe and the region operate throughout the continent for training and exercises, the Pentagon said, and thousands of Marines from II Marine Expeditionary Force will take part next year in the biannual Cold Response exercise in Norway.
Some background: Since 2014, the US has committed more than $2.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, the Pentagon said. That assistance has included radars, anti-drone systems, secure communications, medical gear, armed patrol boats and Javelin anti-tank systems.