Oklahoma’s Fort Sill base will host about 100 Ukrainian troops which should begin training on the Patriot missile defense system as soon as next week, Pentagon informs.
According to Pentagon spokesman Air Force General Pat Ryder, the number of Ukrainian troops heading to Fort Sill, which was selected because it already runs Patriot training schools, was approximately the number it takes to operate one battery.
The Ukrainian troops’ training, during which they would focus on learning to operate and maintain the missile defense system will be shortened since Patriot training normally takes several months and those troops can’t afford to be off the line very long.
Although Ukrainian forces have previously been sent for short-term training at European bases for other complex systems Ukraine has received, such as on the longer-range High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HiMARS), Kyiv’s decision to take troops off the battlefield to train across the Atlantic in the US is quite unusual.
Promptly reacting to the announcement, Russia’s ambassador to the United States said on Tuesday that Washington’s plans to train Ukrainian servicemen in the use of Patriot missiles provide further proof of its de facto participation in the Ukraine war “on the side of Kyiv’s Nazi criminals.”
Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said in a statement posted by his embassy that the decision of the American DoD to organize a training course demonstrates the real aim of the US administration to inflict as much damage as possible on Russia on the battlefield.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also commented on Washington’s decision noting that both the US and NATO are already taking part – albeit indirectly – in the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine while claiming they have no intention of getting involved in the conflict
The spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized that Washington, the NATO nations, and its allies pump Kyiv full of arms and share technologies and intelligence data, making their involvement in this conflict even more obvious.