US begins training Ukrainian forces on new systems in Germany

New systems and training 'will strengthen Ukraine's ability to counter Russia's renewed offensive,' says Pentagon.

US begins training Ukrainian forces on new systems in Germany

The US has begun training Ukrainian forces on new military systems at American military installations in Germany, the Pentagon announced on Friday.

Ukrainian forces are being trained on howitzer artillery, radar systems and armored vehicles the US is supplying to Kyiv amid its effort to defend against an over two-month long Russian offensive.

Defense Department spokesman John Kirby thanked Germany for its support, and said the training in Germany and elsewhere "is in direct support of recent US security assistance packages that are designed to help Ukraine win their battles today, and build strength for tomorrow."

"These new systems, and the associated training will strengthen Ukraine's ability to counter Russia's renewed offensive in eastern Ukraine," he told reporters.

About 160 members of the Florida National Guard are carrying out the training.

It comes on the heels of US President Joe Biden announcing over $1.6 billion in military assistance for Ukraine over the past three weeks. He requested Congress provide an additional $20.4 billion in new military and other security assistance as existing funding is running dry.

The US has provided Kyiv with droves of armaments to aid its battle, include drones, anti-tank and anti-air munitions and heavy artillery.

The package Biden requested on Thursday includes additional artillery, armored vehicles, anti-armor and anti-air capabilities, as well as what the US says are "accelerated cyber capabilities and advanced air defense systems." It has not specified the systems.

According to UN estimates, at least 2,899 civilians have been killed and 3,235 injured in Ukraine since Russia launched a war on Ukraine on Feb. 24, with the actual figure feared to be much higher.

According to the UN refugee agency, more than 8.3 million Ukrainians have fled to neighboring countries.

Hüseyin Demir