U.S. army personnel to train National Guardsmen in Lviv region
On April 20, U.S. army personnel will arrive at Yavoriv training ground in Lviv region to participate in a joint military exercise with National Guard of Ukraine personnel, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has said.
"American commandos, numbering 290, will come to Yavoriv training ground, Lviv region, on April 20. This is where a long-term military exercise of 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team of the U.S. Army and combat units of the National Guard will be held," he wrote on Facebook on Sunday.
Avakov said that 900 guardsmen will participate in the exercise.
"Three parts with 300 national guardsmen each. Three parts for eight weeks each. Then the joint exercise [will be held]," he said.
According to Avakov, the following battalions will take part in the exercise – Azov, Kulchynsky Yahuar (jaguar), Omega, and others from Kyiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, Odesa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Vinnytsia.
"Our American partners will present special ammunition and communication devices to the National Guard detachments that underwent training at the end of the exercise," he said.
Avakov also said that preparative work between the Cabinet of Ministers and the National Guard had been completed.
"I'm grateful to Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, and the employees of U.S. embassy in Ukraine. Without their vigor, the important and complicated preparation of training would have been impossible," Avakov said, and he added that the agreement on the military exercise had been reached during negotiations between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden.
On March 17, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine voted in favor of a bill submitted by Poroshenko on admitting foreign servicemen for multinational exercises in Ukraine in 2015.
On March 22, U.S. Department of Defense reported it was taking the necessary measures to organize the military exercises, and that it would dispatch U.S. army personnel to Ukraine to train National Guard personnel
In keeping with the scheduled exercises, the Yavoriv district in Lviv region will host the Ukraine-U.S. Fearless Guardian 2015 drills scheduled for March through November 2015. Up to 2,200 servicemen will participate: up to 200 Armed Forces of Ukraine personnel, up to 1,000 National Guard of Ukraine personnel, and up to 1,000 U.S. Armed Forces personnel.
From July to October 2015, the international center for peacekeeping and security in Yavoriv district in Lviv region will host the Ukrainian-U.S. Saber Guardian/Rapid Trident 2015 exercises. The total number of participants will be up to 2,100 servicemen. This will include 1,000 Armed Forces of Ukraine personnel, 500 U.S. Armed Forces personnel, and up to 600 from NATO member states and countries participating in the Partnership for Peace program.
Servicemen from the 173rd Sky Soldiers airborne brigade stationed in Vicenza, Italy, will be sent to Ukraine to train six National Guard companies with an emphasis on domestic security and territorial defense, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren had said.
He said that the training program is part of a long-term strategy to improve Ukraine's defense potential and capabilities, and to increase the professionalism of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
According to Warren, the program will be similar to the ones held in Ukraine since 1995, and he added that the United States was holding joint exercises with parties and allies in Europe, and also throughout the world.