Posted by: U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt
Last week, I had the pleasure of joining Maj. Gen. Gregory J. Lengyel, Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR), on his trip to Khmelnytskyi, where U.S. forces from the 10th Special Forces Group are training Ukrainian special operations forces as part of the Joint Multinational Training Group – Ukraine.
I welcomed the chance to hear from Deputy Minister of Defense Dolgov and Ukrainian Special Operations Forces Commander Major General Luniov on the status of Ukraine’s special operations reform efforts, and to witness first-hand the classroom and field training U.S. and Allied special operations forces are providing Ukrainian special forces to enhance Ukraine’s capability to defend itself in the face of relentless Russian aggression.
At Khmelnitsky, U.S. special operations forces are providing training on a wide array of military specialties — medical, marksmanship, construction and demolition, communications, and technology. I was incredibly impressed. Ukraine’s new special operations recruits show great promise, and include many brave soldiers who’ve already served in the ATO, including one of the Cyborgs who had helped defend the Donetsk Airport. I felt incredibly honored when he presented me with his unit patch.
Our training at Khmelnytskyi is taking place at the invitation of the Ukrainian government, and reflects the commitment of the United States to help Ukraine build a professional, NATO-standard fighting force. Since 2014, we have provided more than $266 million in equipment and training to help Ukrainian forces better monitor and secure their border, operate more safely and effectively, and defend their country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
What I saw on my trip reaffirmed my confidence that the Ukrainian military is committed to moving forward with the process of reform — moving toward European institutions, a NATO-standard military, a NATO-standard special forces capability. We’re very proud that the United States is part of that project.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch some of my trip highlights here.