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The US Department of Defense (DoD) has said that the Ukrainian forces may need some training to use the new military capabilities being sent as defensive aid to the embattled country.
This comes after the US administration announced an additional $800m in security assistance for Ukraine. The authorisation marked the seventh drawdown of equipment for Ukraine from DoD stocks since August last year.
The military package includes 18 155mm Howitzers and 40,000 artillery rounds, ten AN/TPQ-36 counter-artillery radars, two AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel air surveillance radars, 200 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers, and 11 Mi-17 helicopters, among others.
It also includes 300 Switchblade Tactical Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS), 500 Javelin missiles, other anti-armour systems, M18A1 Claymore anti-personnel munitions, laser rangefinders, body armour, and helmets.
The DoD anticipates that the Ukrainian forces will need training on the Howitzer system, the two radar systems, and the Claymore mines, as well as the optics and laser rangefinders.
The training is expected to follow the ‘train-the-trainer’ approach to minimise the impact on the ongoing conflict. Under this approach, a small number of soldiers will be trained to use the systems and then they will be sent back to train others.
The DoD previously employed the same approach to training the Ukrainian troops in the US to use the Switchblade drone systems.
Pentagon press secretary John F Kirby said that the US has already started working to send the newly authorised military equipment to the Ukrainian military.
Kirby said: “As you’ve seen [it] go in the past, from the time the president authorises drawdown until the first shipments actually start landing in the region can be as little as four to five days, and then another couple of days once they’re there to get processed and actually in the hands of Ukrainian frontline forces.”
The US has committed $2.6bn in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia launched an invasion on the country. Last week, the US administration authorised the sending of additional Javelin missiles to the nation.
In a separate development, Russia said that its flagship vessel of its Black Sea fleet, the Moskva missile cruiser, was damaged following an explosion. A Ukrainian official later told Reuters that the ship was hit by two Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles.