Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley visited a military base in Germany on Monday to inspect the expanded U.S. training of Ukrainian forces.
Milley arrived at the base for the second day of training on a visit that sends a strong message to Moscow that the U.S. will not back down in its support of Ukraine in its war with Russia.
American advisors are training 600 Ukrainian troops on armored vehicles, tanks, a variety of weapons, and combat techniques. The training is expected to be a 5-week rotation at the Grafenwoehr training area.
Milley told commanders in a briefing that “this is not a run-of-the-mill rotation. This is one of those moments in time where if you want to make a difference, this is it.”
According to the Associated Press, strict press controls were in place to protect the identities of personnel present, saying, “The reporters were allowed to follow Milley and watch his interactions with Ukrainian and U.S. troops and commanders, but were not allowed to report specific conversations with the Ukraine forces or take any photos or video.”
It was also noted that “The restrictions reflect ongoing U.S. concerns about escalating Russian anger over the West’s involvement in the war or triggering a wider conflict.”
The training of Ukrainian forces is not new, with a limited number of Ukrainian troops receiving instruction from U.S. and allied trainers at Grafenwoehr prior to the February 24 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The training program will include field work along with classroom instruction that will begin with small squads and will eventually include larger units. The training will peak with a battalion and headquarters unit working together on a complex combat exercise.
Due to the Pentagon’s involvement with training Ukrainian forces, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated last month that NATO is a “direct” participant in the war. Lavrov told reporters at a press briefing, “You shouldn’t say that the US and NATO aren’t taking part in this war. You are directly participating in it.”
Lavrov added, “And not just by providing weapons but also by training personnel. You are training their military on your territory, on the territories of Britain, Germany, Italy, and other countries.”