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First Ukraine troops complete expanded US training: Pentagon

Ukrainian servicemen walk along a street in Siversk on February 17, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by YASUYOSHI CHIBA / AFP)

A first group of more than 600 Ukrainian soldiers have finished a US training course involving larger-scale maneuvers that could aid Kyiv’s forces in upcoming offensive operations, the Pentagon said Friday.

“This week, the first Ukrainian battalion completed combined arms training on the M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle at Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany,” spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder said in a statement.

The United States has agreed to provide more than 100 Bradleys — which are armed with 25 mm autocannons and can also fire anti-tank missiles — to Ukraine, which is expected to launch a counter-offensive against Russian troops in the coming months.

“Approximately 635 Ukrainians completed the approximately five-week period of instruction, which included basic soldier tasks like marksmanship, along with medical training, squad, platoon and company training, and a battalion force-on-force exercise,” Ryder said.

A mechanized and a field artillery battalion began training two weeks ago, and two more battalions are due to start next week, he added.

The United States — which had already been training Ukrainian soldiers on the use of various weapons systems promised to Kyiv — announced the expanded training program at the end of last year.

It marks a return to the type of instruction that was taking place inside Ukraine before Russia invaded the country in February 2022.

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