Pentagon to train Ukrainians on Patriot missile system in Oklahoma


The Pentagon is planning to bring Ukrainian troops to the United States for training on the Patriot missile defense system, a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the development said Tuesday.

The training will occur at Fort Sill, which spans about 145 square miles southwest of Oklahoma City, and could begin as soon as this month, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the plan ahead of a formal announcement. The base is home to both basic Patriot missile defense training and field artillery training for U.S. troops.

The move follows President Biden’s decision last month to approve sending a Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine to bolster Kyiv’s defenses against an onslaught of Russian missiles. Germany last week announced that it, too, would send a Patriot battery to Ukraine.

Pentagon preparing to send Patriot missile system to Ukraine

Pentagon officials declined Tuesday morning to discuss the plan. But a senior Pentagon official, Laura Cooper, said last week that training will begin in January, and take several months.

“Patriot is not an immediate-term capability,” said Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of defense. “But we will start that training very soon.”

A Pentagon spokesman, Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, said last week that details were still being worked out.

“I can tell you that we’re exploring a variety of options to include potential training here in the U.S., overseas, or a combination of both,” he said.

The planned training at Fort Sill was first reported by CNN.

Pentagon eyes major expansion of Ukraine military training

The expansion in training comes as the Biden administration seeks to elevate the Ukrainian military from a force that has successfully halted the advance of Russian troops in several parts of Ukraine to one that is better able to take back Ukrainian territory from the Russian military.

Senior U.S. officials are preparing to train hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers at a time in Germany, focusing them on what U.S. military officials call combined-arms warfare, a concept that integrates ground operations with long-range artillery, aviation and other weapons.

U.S. and Germany will send armored combat vehicles to Ukraine

President Biden also has approved a broad expansion of weapons transfers to Ukraine, with the United States sending to Kyiv heavily armored Bradley fighting vehicles, self-propelled artillery and thousands of rounds of ammunition to support them. It’s an effort, Cooper said Friday, to “change the dynamic” on the battlefield so that Ukraine can make greater progress along front lines that have stayed mostly static for months.

The package approved Friday included more than $3 billion in military assistance, the single largest transfer since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. The United States has approved the transfer of $24.2 billion in weapons since the invasion.



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