300 US troops in Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces: Army
KYIV - Agence France-Presse
Ground crew members walk past a U.S. Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft on the runway at the airport in Lviv April 10, 2015. REUTERS PhotoAbout 300 US paratroopers arrived this week in Ukraine to train the Ukrainian National Guard which is fighting pro-Russian rebels in the east, the US Army said in a statement.
The troops from the 173rd Airborne Brigade arrived on April 14 and April 15 in Yavoriv, western Ukraine, to spend six months training three battalions of Ukrainian troops, said the statement dated April 16.
Meanwhile, Moscow on April 17 warned that the presence of foreign military personnel could destabilise the situation in Ukraine, following deployment of 300 US trainers there this week.
"The participation of instructors and experts from third countries on Ukrainian territory... of course, does not help to resolve the conflict," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, Russian news agencies reported.
"On the contrary, it can seriously destabilise the situation," he said.
Fighting between the separatists and Ukrainian troops is rumbling on in the east despite a February ceasefire agreement.
The conflict has so far claimed more than 6,000 lives, according to the United Nations.
The US troops will train the National Guard of Ukraine (NGU), a reservist force reformed in 2014 to bring volunteers and militia under government control.
"We will be conducting classes on war-fighting functions, as well as training to sustain and increase the professionalism and proficiency of military staffs," Major Jose Mendez, operations officer for the brigade, which is based in Italy, said in the statement.