US small arms and ammunition expected to arrive in Ukraine as Pentagon details troops to train country’s army

President Joe Biden approved the package on September 1 during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to the White House. The assistance included lethal elements, such as Javelin anti-tank missiles, as well as non-lethal elements, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Wednesday.
The security package is designed to strengthen Ukraine’s self-defense capacity, especially in light of the strengthening of Russian forces near the country’s borders. The United States has watched the moves with growing concern, and US officials have been in contact with their NATO and European counterparts to coordinate a response if Russian President Vladimir Putin decides to invade Ukraine.
This year, the United States has provided about $ 450 million in security assistance to Ukraine, Kirby said, including items that arrived this week. Since 2014, when Russia invaded and occupied the Crimean Peninsula, the United States has provided more than $ 2.5 billion in aid to Ukraine.

The US military is also helping train Ukrainian forces.

In November, approximately 150 members of the Florida National Guard’s Task Force Gator were deployed to Ukraine as part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, replacing the Washington National Guard. The training group, established in 2015, was designed to improve Ukraine’s defensive capabilities.

In addition to Task Force Gator, Special Operations Command Europe has an “important role” in training and advising Ukrainian special forces through exercises, communication and coordination “at all levels”, he said. the Pentagon said in a statement Tuesday.

The Pentagon has not disclosed how many special forces are in Ukraine due to operational security concerns.

“Training with our Ukrainian partners cultivates confidence, strengthens preparedness and develops relationships, which in turn promote peace and stability across Europe,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Anton said. Semelroth in the press release.

The Pentagon will not go into details on the timing of training, operations or deployments, nor will it say whether the schedules have changed in light of the build-up of Russian forces near Ukraine.

Marines from Europe and the region are operating across the continent for training and exercises, the Pentagon said, and thousands of Marines from the II Marine Expeditionary Force will participate next year in the biannual Cold Response exercise in Norway.

The U.S. Army for Europe and Africa trains in Poland, Lithuania, Romania, Germany, the Netherlands and Greece, while the 4th Security Assistance Brigade has rotating teams in Georgia, Latvia, North Macedonia, Poland and Romania.

The 164th Florida National Guard Air Defense Artillery Brigade is located in Ansbach, Germany.

UPDATE: This story and title has been updated with an updated State Department timeline on a Security Assistance Program to Ukraine.

CNN’s Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.

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