US-NATO starts new phase of training and equipping Ukrainian military, against Minsk

Global Research, November 29, 2015
TASS 26 November 2015
Ukraine Troops

The United States has launched a new phase of training of Ukrainian servicemen, a fact, which may have negative consequences for the future of the Donbas truce, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

 She recalled that 300 US instructors from the 173rd US airborne brigade had trained three battalions – 780 people – for Ukraine’s National Guard in a period from April to November. “It is noteworthy that the training completed at a time when the situation on the line of contact in Donbas started getting worse and the newly trained people were apparently sent there,” Zakharova said.

“Now the Americans and their NATO colleagues, including the Lithuanians and Canadians, will train a new group of Ukrainian troopers. It is clear that such preparations are unlikely to deescalate tensions and may have a negative impact on the fragile truce in the country’s southeast,” the Russian diplomat stressed.

“The presence of foreign paratroopers and their weapons on the Ukrainian soil means gross violation of the Minsk package of measures, point 10 in particular, by the Kiev government,” Zakharova said adding that point 10 provides for the OSCE-monitored withdrawal of all foreign units, military vehicles and mercenaries from the Ukrainian territory.

“It does not say that this provision applies exclusively to (Ukraine’s) eastern provinces. The Kiev authorities unequivocally took a commitment which does not contain any reservations and concerns the entire territory under their control,” the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.

US Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a spokesperson for the US Department of Defense, has recently said that the United States is starting a second phase of training of the Ukrainian army and is planning to train and equip six army battalions, including one special operations unit.

Ukrainian troopers will undergo training according to the US Fearless Guardian program launched in 2014. At its first stage, the United States trained and equipped the National Guard units, which are subordinate to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry. Now, the US instructors will train army battalions.

Three hundred military instructors of the 173rd airborne brigade of the United States Army based in Vicenza, Italy, will undergo training at the Yavorovsky testing ground in the Lviv region, Western Ukraine. A special operations battalion will be prepared in the West Ukrainian city of Khmelnitsky.

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Atlantic Resolve — continuous NATO war games on Russia’s western, southern borders

Washington and NATO control the narrative. Here, Lt. Gen. Hodges meets with “defense writers”, and tells them the spin.

Was he able to talk about diplomacy with a straight face?

From Rick Rozoff

U.S. Department of Defense
March 19, 2015
Army Commander in Europe Details Assurance Efforts
By Jim Garamone

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WASHINGTON: Thirteen months after Russia began its occupation of Crimea, the United States and its European allies must remain steadfast against the threat such actions pose, the commander of U.S. Army Europe said here this week.

Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges told the Defense Writers Group at a March 17 breakfast that the Russian action of illegally annexing Crimea from Ukraine and its continuing threat to the eastern part of Ukraine is a game-changer on the continent.

Atlantic Resolve Enables Cooperation

…Hodges told reporters to think of Atlantic Resolve as a continuous series of exercises, with American troops operating with troops in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, demonstrating America’s commitment to the defense of these NATO allies. Later this month, Atlantic Resolve exercises will expand to include Bulgaria and, later in the year, Romania, he said.

An airborne battalion from Vicenza, Italy, will jump into Romania and link up with a Stryker squadron coming by rail from Vilseck, Germany, Hodges said. “That will begin the introduction of [Operation Atlantic Resolve] into the south,” he added.

U.S. Army Europe also is working with countries in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, including Georgia and Ukraine. Beginning next month, troopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade will train Ukrainian Interior Ministry troops, and in May, U.S. paratroopers and tankers will exercise in Georgia, Hodges said.

Using Diplomatic, Economic Pressures

Reporters pressed Hodges on whether the United States should provide weapons to Ukraine. He said he can see both sides of the argument, but that the focus should not be on the weapons decision. “The focus should be on what is the desired end state, and can we get there using diplomatic and economic pressures and support,” he said.

https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/atlantic-resolve-continuous-nato-war-games-on-russias-western-southern-borders/

Azov Battalion, Etc: U.S. paratroopers to train Ukrainian National Guard

U.S. Army Europe
February 25, 2015

USAREUR commander visits with Sky Soldiers in Vicenza
By Staff Sgt. Opal Vaughn

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VICENZA, Italy: “I want to talk you today about Strong Europe,” said Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army Europe, speaking to paratroopers assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade here on Feb. 24, 2015, about their role in Europe and what they represent.

“Think of it in terms of people, places and things,” said Hodges. “The people, that’s all of you paratroopers. You all play a vital role and we want to continue that.”

During his visit, Hodges observed the brigade’s preparation for its scheduled training mission in western Ukraine, providing feedback for paratroopers who will train the newly-formed Ukrainian National Guard.

Hodges emphasized the important role the 173rd Airborne plays in enabling the NATO Alliance through multinational exercises.

“When you train in all these exercises with your allies, you build relationships,” he said, referring to the brigade’s participation in exercises such as Operation Atlantic Resolve and the upcoming Swift Response and Saber Junction. “It is U.S. Army Europe’s contribution to Europe on behalf of the Army, NATO and all the components that we support.”

Strong Europe represents the strategic framework that Hodges introduced since taking command last year of the approximately 30,000 Soldiers forward stationed in Europe.

Training allows paratroopers from the 173rd to exercise their own quick-response procedures. As the Army’s Contingency Response Force in Europe, the brigade maintains the ability to deploy on short notice to conduct the full spectrum of operations across the U.S. European, Africa and Central Command areas of responsibility.

https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/azov-battalion-etc-u-s-paratroopers-to-train-ukrainian-national-guard/