“We want the Ukrainians to have the ability to successfully defend their country,” Milley said. “Ukraine is only defending itself, and they are trying to liberate the Russian-occupied Ukraine.”
The training, which was first revealed in planning late last year, begins as the United States and its allies lock in an ever-expanding list of weapons that could be used in a Ukrainian counteroffensive within months. The Biden administration approved the transfer of $3 billion in weapons on Jan. 6, marking the largest single arms transfer to Ukraine since Russia invaded nearly a year ago, as the administration seeks cooperation from other allies to to provide similar weapons. Weapons in the US package include 50 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and motorized howitzer artillery.
Other nations, including Britain, Poland and France, have pledged complementary weapons, including battle tanks, and Ukraine has pressured Germany to do the same. Milley said the challenge will be determining how quickly the Ukrainian military will be ready and trained to use all the new military equipment. The situation will be mitigated by the fact that some of the Ukrainian forces are already familiar with other armored weapons, such as the T-72 tank.
“It’s going to take a little time,” Milley said. “Five, six, seven, eight weeks, who knows. We’ll see what happens here. But from the point of view of its criticality, there is a need now.”
It is generally planned to spend the week in Europe, meeting with European colleagues, observing the training, observing the logistics hubs through which troops flow, and participating in a planning conference that will include NATO allies and Ukrainian military officials . On Friday, he and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will participate in a meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group, where countries that support the government in Kyiv will meet, assess what Ukraine needs and make commitments about what they can provide.
Milley said Ukraine’s first priority is to find more air defenses, an ongoing challenge highlighted by a Russian missile attack on a civilian apartment complex in the city of Dnipro on Saturday that killed dozens of people.
“They are hit every few weeks with significant attacks, and they are attacks on civilian infrastructure,” the general said. “The Russians are consciously, as a matter of policy, attacking civilians and civilian infrastructure. That in itself is a war crime.”
War in Ukraine: What you need to know
Most recent: Russia on Friday claimed control of Soledar, a disputed salt-mining town in eastern Ukraine where fighting has been ongoing for the past few days, but a Ukrainian military official said the battle was not over. yet.
Russian gambling: The Post examined the road to war in Ukraine, and the efforts of the West to come together to prevent the Kremlin’s plans, through extensive interviews with more than three dozen senior officials of the United States, Ukraine, Europe and NATO.
Photograph: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground since the beginning of the war — this is some of their most powerful work.
How you can help: Here are ways that those in the United States can support the people of Ukraine in addition to what people around the world are giving.
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