The US military plans to deploy troops to Ukraine this spring to train four companies in the Ukrainian National Guard, according to the commander of US Army Europe.
Lt. Gen Frederick Ben Hodges headed a command delegation to Kiev Wednesday to begin evaluating the situation in Ukraine’s restive south-eastern regions.
American soldiers will be deploying to the Yavoriv Training Area near the city of L’viv — located some 40 miles from the Polish border.
Gen. Hodges met Wednesday with senior Ukrainian military officials and said he was “impressed by the readiness of both military and civil leadership to change and reform.”
The US is still determining the troop level needed for the training mission, which is part of a US State Department initiative “to assist Ukraine in strengthening its law enforcement capabilities, conduct internal defense, and maintain rule of law,” Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Vanessa Hillman told Defense News.
Hillman said that Kiev had requested the training program as it is establishing its National Guard.
The United States has already earmarked $19 million to help build the Ukrainian National Guard.
The visit by the US military delegation came as Ukrainian military launched a large-scale offensive last week against pro-Russia forces in the eastern Donetsk region.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia Wednesday of deploying 9,000 troops into eastern Ukraine to back the pro-Russia forces.
Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since mid-April 2014.
According to the latest figures released by the United Nations, around 5,000 people have been killed in the fighting.