US to train more Ukrainian troops: State Department
The State Department has said that, in addition to its other activities in the Ukraine, the US military will soon start training Ukrainian armed forces which are engaged in a conflict with pro-Russia fighters.
The State Department announced on Friday that the training would take place in the west of the country.
“This training is part of our long-running defense cooperation with Ukraine and is taking place at the invitation of the Ukraine government. This additional program brings our total security assistance committed to Ukraine since 2014 to over $244 million,” said Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman.
“I don’t have anything to announce in terms of any types of new equipment or new weaponry,” told reporters. “Our focus is on… non-lethal aid. And there is no plans to change that.”
The US has already deployed troops to Ukraine which are engaged in multiple activities in addition to training of National Guard forces. But under the new plan, the US military would train regular military units.
Ukraine has been fighting pro-Russian fighters in eastern regions for last 15 months. The conflict has claimed more than 6,500 lives.
The United States supports Ukraine and accuses Moscow of providing heavy weaponry and training to pro-Russia fighters and of deploying air defense systems in eastern Ukraine.
Russia denounces the accusations as baseless and says Washington is responsible for the escalating tensions in Ukraine by sending arms in support of the Ukrainian army.
Ties between Washington and Moscow deteriorated last year after pro-Western forces ousted Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014.
The United States and the European Union have imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia, including visa bans and asset freezes