11,000 Ukrainian soldiers currently training abroad, Pentagon spokesman says

31 March, 12:03 PM
Ukrainian military during training in Germany (Photo:REUTERS/Leonhard Simon)

Ukrainian military during training in Germany (Photo:REUTERS/Leonhard Simon)

Some 11,000 Ukrainian military personnel are currently undergoing training in dozens of countries, Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said at a briefing on March 30.

"Training for Ukrainian Forces is an international effort being conducted in partnership with our coalition partners, who are currently training more than 11,000 Ukrainian soldiers," he said.

The Ukrainian military is being trained across 26 countries. In particular, 4,000 soldiers will complete their training in Germany this month.

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"Additional combined-arms training is currently underway at Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas in Germany, with two motorized infantry battalions consisting of 1,200 Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel," Ryder said.

Ukraine has for months been training soldiers abroad and in Ukraine ahead of a much-anticipated counter-offensive against Russian invasion forces.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the aim of the counter-offensive is to liberate Ukrainian territory up to its internationally recognized borders of 1991, which would include the Russian-occupied Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.

Meanwhile, Russia has been conducting its own, stuttering offensive over the winter months, reportedly losing thousands of men and hundreds of armored vehicles in assaults along the front line, while making little progress.

In particular, bloody attritional fighting in the Donetsk Oblast city of Bakhmut is thought to have cost Russia’s Wagner mercenary company thousands of dead and wounded – though Ukraine is also thought to have taken heavy casualties there as well.

With the Russian offensive slowly grinding to a halt, Ukraine has been building up fighting forces of modern Western main battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, though Kyiv has complained that the equipment has been slow in coming, and Ukraine’s other pressing need – Western multirole jet fighters – has yet to be met by its military allies.

Meanwhile, Russia has been taking from storage hundreds of T-55 tanks – medium tanks dating from just after the Second World War – which points to the Russian army suffering a serious shortage of armor.

However, the Russians have also had months to build formidable defensesin the south of Ukraine and along other parts of the front where a Ukrainian counter-offensive might strike, and Western military experts have warned that breaching these will require Ukraine to have modern demining equipment as well as tanks.

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