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23 Dec, 2022 09:27

US mulls teaching Ukrainians on Patriot use at home – Politico

The anti-missile system reportedly won’t be shipped to Ukraine for months, until it has operators that are ready
US mulls teaching Ukrainians on Patriot use at home – Politico

US may start training Ukrainian troops on its soil for the first time since the hostilities with Russia broke out, American officials cited by Politico indicated. Officials cited by the outlet said that It made sense to teach them how to operate the Patriot system on American soil, as opposed to a US military base in Europe.

The US government pledged to supply Ukraine with one battery of the advanced MIM-104 Patriot long-range anti-missile system, which requires dozens of trained personnel to operate. The course usually takes months to complete.

The White House indicated last week that the training of Ukrainians on how to operate the system would take place in a third country, but Politico sources said that it may actually happen on US soil, at least partially. They spoke to the outlet on condition of anonymity.

Fort Sill, Oklahoma would be the logical place for the program, considering that it has instructors and complex simulators, one official was cited as saying. However, conducting the training in Europe would be “doable” too, with additional logistical difficulties, the report said.

According to the sources, no final decision was made yet. If Washington does opt for inviting Ukrainian soldiers stateside, it would be the first such instance since the conflict with Russia broke out in late February, the outlet noted.

The Patriot battery would be sent to Ukraine only after its operators are ready, US officials told Politico. Most likely it will be drawn from US reserves rather than another place of deployment.

The EU has its own program for teaching Ukrainians on how to use NATO-standard weapons and military equipment, which the US and its allies pour into the country to fight Russia. Most of the classes take place in Poland, though Germany hosts some, too. Individual countries, including the US, the UK, Canada, Sweden and the Netherlands have their own military training courses for Ukraine.

The US pledged to deliver the Patriot system during last week’s visit by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to Washington. He flew across the Atlantic to meet US President Joe Biden and speak before the US Congress, to more than a dozen standing ovations.

During the speech he claimed that Ukrainian troops were more than capable of operating US-made tanks and fighter jets.