US instructors to train Ukrainian National Guard
Arsen Avakov one more time announced the arrival of 290 US Marines from 173rd Airborne Brigade to Galicia, one of the Western regions of Ukriane. It was announced that on April 20 US paratroopers will start an eight-week training cycle with 900 members of the Ukrainian "National Guard". Later members of the battalions "Azov", "Kulchytskyy", "Jaguar", "Omega"and some unnamed battalions from Kiev, Lviv, Kharkiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Zaporizhzhya, Odessa and Vinnitsa are reported to hold joint exercises.
Later Avakov explained that the battalion "Dnepr" will not be involved in the drills, as it is being "reformatted" because of its leaving the Ministry of Internal Affairs and joining the Ministry of Defence. Nevertheless, Avakov said "Dnepr" would hold similar training in autumn. Thereby the Interior Minister indirectly confirmed that the American instructors are likely to stay in Yavoriv till late 2015.
173rd Airborne Brigade ("Sky Soldiers") is considered to be the most combat-ready unit of the US forces in Europe, and is responsible for the "quick response".
In 2013 the 173rd Brigade became a major force of the United States in Southern Europe after the withdrawal of the larger units. In April 2014 four divisions were deployed in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to "demonstrate resolve in connection with the Russian aggression." In September 2014 200 soldiers of the brigade arrived in Lviv to participate in joint exercises with Ukrainian forces. To consider the situation objectively, the 173rd Brigade is the best the US have in Europe at the moment. Moreover, this unit was created specially for assault or air assault operations. They also may conduct counter-terrorist operations. But how good they are at teaching is a question.
US units in Eastern and Southern Europe are constantly inspected by Russian experts in their places of deployment, but not in the Carpathians. Recently Russia has given a permission to the American reconnaissance aircraft with Ukrainian (!) officers on board to fly over the territory of Russia and Belarus. This is an unscheduled inspection flight. And Moscow is entitled to request the same permission to control what is going on at Yavoriv training center.
However, nothing special is going to happen there. The most important issue is not to allow the US troops to suddenly disappear in the East of Ukraine after "rotation".