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Ukraine’s Military to Train in Oklahoma

National

Patriot missile defense system | Image by Radovan Stoklasa/REUTERS

Between 90 and 100 Ukrainian armed forces members will be calling Oklahoma’s Fort Sill home for the next several months while they receive training from the U.S. military on the Patriot air defense system.

“Once fielded, the Patriot will continue to … contribute to Ukraine’s air defense capabilities and provide another capability to the Ukrainian people to defend themselves against Russia’s ongoing aerial assaults,” said U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder on Tuesday.

During Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s trip to the United States, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) announced an additional $1.85 billion in security aid for Ukraine, which includes a Patriot air defense missile system and another batch of high-speed anti-radiation missiles (HARMs), The Dallas Express reported.

As previously reported in The Dallas Express, then-House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) declared that Republicans will not write a “blank check” to Ukraine.

There has since been growing concern over both the lack of safeguards for how the money is spent and whether increased U.S. intervention risks drawing the country into a wider war.

In November last year, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) tweeted, “We should immediately stop payments to Ukraine and begin a thorough audit of the $60 billion that Joe Biden and Congress have already sent there.”

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to the idea of the Americans boosting Ukraine’s military capabilities in comments to the Russian press after U.S. President Joe Biden welcomed Zelenskyy to Washington, D.C.

Putin described the U.S. Patriot surface-to-air missile as “quite an old system” compared to the Russian S-300, according to The Dallas Express (original message in Russian, translated via Google Translate).

Training on the Patriot system usually takes a few months, but Ryder said that the training in Oklahoma will be cut short because “the longer those troops are off the line, they’re not actually engaged in combat.”

Ryder said Fort Sill was chosen because it already has Patriot training centers.

Kyiv’s decision to pull troops off the battlefield to train across the Atlantic is not unprecedented, the Associated Press reported.

Ukraine has sent forces for short-term training at European bases for other complex weapon systems it has received, like the long-range High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

The U.S. pledged one Patriot battery in December, while Germany, a NATO partner, has promised another.

Each Patriot battery has ground radar, a control station, a power generator, and a truck-mounted launch system with eight launchers holding up to four missile interceptors each.

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