US Army Europe to train Ukrainian National Guard

22 January 2015 (Last Updated January 22nd, 2015 18:30)

The US Army Europe has confirmed it intends to start training Ukrainian National Guard soldiers later this year.

US soldiers

The US Army Europe has confirmed it intends to start training Ukrainian National Guard soldiers later this year.

US European Command spokesperson David Westover was quoted by Sputnik as saying: "The training, scheduled to begin in spring, comes at the request of the Ukrainian Government, as they work to reform their police forces and establish their newly formed National Guard.

"This training mission meets US and partner national interests by demonstrating US commitment to security in the Black Sea region, and demonstrating the value of forward-stationed forces accustomed to training with partner nations.

"We are still in the planning stages of determining which units will provide training and how many personnel will be required to train four manoeuvre companies and one tactical-level headquarters unit of Ukraine National Guard forces to standard [level]."

Funding for the training, which is part of the US State Department's effort to help Ukraine strengthen its law enforcement capabilities, conduct internal defence and maintain the rule of law, has already been approved by Congress and will be allocated from the global security contingency fund.

Approximately four National Guard companies are expected to be trained at the Yavoriv Training Area near L'viv, Ukraine, as reported by DefenseNews.

"The training, scheduled to begin in spring, comes at the request of the Ukrainian Government."

Comprising soldiers and activists from Maidan self-defence squads, Ukrainian National Guard personnel have been participating in the country's military operation in its eastern region since April 2014, Sputnik reported.

The announcement comes amid escalating violence between Kiev forces and pro-Russia rebels in eastern Ukraine, and fears of increasing Russian involvement in the region.

The Ukrainian Army has withdrawn from the main terminal of Donetsk airport following days of heavy fighting with the separatists but still controls the southern part of the airport, reports suggest.

According to a UN estimate, the conflict has killed more than 4,800 people and displaced approximately 1.2 million.


Image: US Army Europe soldiers will train Ukrainian National Guard personnel later this year. Photo: courtesy of US Army Europe Images.