The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, spent a couple of hours with Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, the top officer in Ukraine’s armed forces, said U.S. military spokesman Col. David Butler. The meeting was held after it became clear that Zalužn would not be able to participate in the meeting of senior NATO military officials to be held in Brussels on Wednesday. Milley met the Ukrainian officer with a group that included five other Americans, an interpreter and security guards. News of the meeting was hushed up until after it was over, and officials outlined security measures.
“They both thought it was important,” Butler said of the meeting. “It is important that two very important military personnel look each other in the eye when talking about very important topics. It makes a difference.”
The meeting comes after nearly a year of remote meetings between the generals and as the United States and its allies expand the arsenal of weapons they provide to Ukraine, including advanced American combat vehicles, European tanks and a host of other equipment. expected counterattack against Russian forces.
Training for Ukrainian forces has also increased significantly in the past week as US troops in Germany trained a Ukrainian mechanized battalion to better coordinate how these troops use US-made weapons to maximize their impact on the battlefield. US Army personnel in Oklahoma show their Ukrainian counterparts how to use a sophisticated air defense system.
US involvement in Ukraine war deepens, troops to train in Oklahoma
The Kremlin has sharply criticized Western efforts to help Ukraine, accusing Washington and its NATO allies of waging a proxy war against Moscow and raising concerns that Russia could at some point become intolerant of intervention and target the United States or another NATO country. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently appointed Milley’s fellow Russian, General Valery Gerasimov, as his commander-in-chief in Ukraine. Observers say the move is a strong sign that Moscow is reluctant to end its invasion as the war nears the one-year mark, with more than 100,000 dead. dead or wounded on both sides.
Milley arrived in southeastern Poland around 11 a.m. local time, and began meeting with Zaluzhny about two hours later, Butler said. Some Americans traveling with the general, including two journalists, stayed at a military base here, a way station used to funnel aid to Ukraine, while Milley traveled closer to the border. Photography was not allowed during the visit, and US military officials asked that reporters not withhold the exact locations.
The meeting came a day after a contingent of civilian officials from the Pentagon and State Department met in Kiev with President Volodymyr Zelensky and other senior Ukrainian officials. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Kiev earlier in a show of support for the Ukrainian leader. Milley has not visited Ukraine itself, as the US appears to have a policy of allowing only a small contingent of American military personnel assigned to the US Embassy in Kiev to spend time in the country.
Butler said Milley’s visit did not pose any major safety concerns and that he did not go anywhere believed to be dangerous. The general wanted to tell Zaluzhny about his impressions of the Ukrainian unit, which has just begun training under the supervision of US troops in Germany after a visit on Monday, and to discuss Ukraine’s needs ahead of a regularly scheduled meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group this week. a gathering of international partners who militarily supported the country throughout the war.
“General Milley’s job as a military man is to be able to describe the tactical and operational conditions and military needs of the battlefield. And he does it one – he understands it himself, but two – by regularly talking to General Zaluzhny.
The Pentagon is eyeing a major expansion of Ukraine’s military training
Tuesday’s visit was the third time Milley has visited the base in southeastern Poland since the war began. U.S. troops here, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military ground rules, said their mission had expanded in the past few months as the range of weapons they approved for transfer grew.
The military has been working since the start of the war to improve the base’s security by adding new concrete bunkers and thick, sand-filled outdoor walls, commonly known as the HESCO barrier, to connect two batteries of Patriot air defense systems that were deployed in southeastern Poland. spring
A U.S. soldier assigned to the Patriot unit said Tuesday that some had been assigned to the base since March and that they were unsure when another unit of soldiers might arrive to replace and replace them. That’s not unusual for Patriot units, but the lack of predictability was stressful, the soldier said.
The device runs continuously and its alert status ebbs and flows based on the day’s events.
“We have to respond appropriately to the situation,” said the soldier.
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