US plans to train Ukrainian soldiers using howitzers

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US plans to train Ukrainian soldiers using howitzers

Ukrainian instructors will travel to third country to receive training on American tools, such as radar and howitzers.

The Pentagon intends to provide training for Ukrainian soldiers so they can use the howitzers and radars contained in the latest batch of weapons and equipment President Joe Biden ordered to be sent to Kiev, the US military said on Monday. The training will take place in another country.

The US announced last week that it would deliver $800 million worth of weapons to the east European state. This batch includes anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, as well as armored vehicles, artillery pieces, and tactical radars, for which the Ukrainians would need training.

An anonymous US defense official told reporters on Monday that the Pentagon is planning to teach Ukrainian trainers how to use the new weapons in an unspecified third country. The Ukrainians would train their colleagues on how to use the US weapons, while Washington would avoid having boots on the ground in Ukraine itself.

Some Ukrainian troops in the United States were trained in using the Switchblade kamikaze drones, 300 of which were included in the new shipment of weapons, according to the Pentagon earlier in the day.

500 more Javelin anti-tank missiles, 500 more Stinger anti-air missiles, 10 counter-artillery radars, 200 of the M 113 armored personnel carriers, 100 Humvee armored cars and 18 towed 155 mm howitzers were among the weapons announced by the Biden administration last week.

It was not specified which howitzers would be sent, though the presence of the retired M 113 s suggests that they would be the M 198 models decommissioned in the last decade, rather than the current M 777 in service with the US military.

Four flights of weapons from the new package have been sent to Ukraine, the anonymous US official told the media.

On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that its tactical aircraft had struck 22 Ukrainian artillery positions, and Kiev has lost more than 1,000 field artillery pieces and 250 rocket artillery launchers since February 24.

Russia has also targeted NATO weapons shipments to Ukraine. A missile strike against a logistics center in Lvov destroyed large quantities of foreign weapons that arrived in Ukraine over the past six days from the US and European countries, military spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Monday morning. On Saturday, Konashenkov said Russian air defenses shot down a Ukrainian transport plane near Odessa, which had been delivering a large shipment of arms supplied to Ukraine by Western countries. Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, after Ukraine failed to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists that the Russian offensive was unprovoked and has denied that it was planning to take the two republics by force.