US Military to Begin Training Ukrainian National Guard in April
The Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez said the military will send 300 US soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade (Vincenza, Italy) to the Yavoriv training center placed in western Ukraine, near the Polish border in April. Training will focus on "internal defense capabilities."
"This assistance is part of our ongoing efforts to help sustain Ukraine's defense and internal security operations," Lainez said. There is no information on the exact date. The training was expected to start in mid-March but was delayed after Minsk peace talks and a second cease-fire agreement.
Now the US has decided to go on with training Ukrainian National Guard, amid White House talks about diplomacy as the only effective way to settle the crisis in Ukraine. "While we continue to believe that there is no military resolution to this crisis, Ukraine has the right to defend itself," said Lainez.
At the same time Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said he didn't believe "Russia-backed sepatatists" would adhere to the Minsk agreements.
The US has refused to provide Kiev with lethal armaments, but has provided about $120 million in non-lethal military assistance. Now it is considering new steps to penalize Moscow for so-called "Russian annexation of Crimea" a year ago.
Moscow says it has no hand in the crisis in Ukraine. On Thursday Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavorv warned that a new US supported Ukrainian law on the special self-governing status of Donbass violated the Minsk accord. He also expressed concern about the "further deterioration of the situation." "We can only conclude that Washington is inciting Kiev to resolve the issue by military means," Lavrov told journalists in Moscow.