Patriot Training Courses for Ukrainians Confirm US Involvement in Growing Crisis, Russian Envoy Says
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Pentagon's decision to train the Ukrainian military to operate Patriot missile defense systems confirms the involvement of the United States in the conflict in Ukraine, Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov told reporters.
"The decision of the US Department of Defense to organize a training course at Fort Sill in Oklahoma is another confirmation of Washington's de facto participation in the Ukrainian conflict on the side of Nazi criminals from Kiev," Antonov said while commenting on the upcoming training course in the United States for Ukrainian servicemen to operate Patriot missile defense systems.
Defense Department Press Secretary Pat Ryder said on Tuesday the United States will begin training Ukrainian troops on the Patriot surface-to-air missile system at Fort Sill in the US state of Oklahoma as soon as next week.
The training, which teaches operational and maintenance skills in classroom and simulation settings, will prepare 90-100 Ukrainian soldiers over the next several months, Ryder said.
Ukrainian presidential office adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Ukrainian troops will start using Patriot systems supplied by the West by early or mid-spring.
In December 2022, the United States committed one Patriot missile system to Ukraine. That commitment was followed by another one made by Germany earlier this month.
The Patriot system will be delivered to Ukraine following the training course, Ryder said, noting that the delivery will not be announced in advance.
Antonov earlier highlighted that Russia has constantly informed the US audience of the dangers posed by the Biden administration's actions in Ukraine.
"It is noteworthy that our efforts to bring to the attention of the American audience the true danger of such a line by the White House are step by step recognized by the local expert community," Antonov said.
"For example, Washington Post observers openly admitted that the training of Ukrainian troops in the United States means that US involvement into the confrontation is growing."
"They noted that the administration is no longer limiting itself to strengthening the defense potential of Kiev, but is transferring new weapons to the republic in order to increase its offensive capabilities," he added.
The Pentagon has focused recent security assistance packages for Ukraine on air defense capabilities amid frequent Russian missile and drone strikes. Last week, the Biden administration announced a new $3.75 billion aid package for Ukraine, including RIM-7 "Sea Sparrow" air defense missiles.
Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022 in response to calls by the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics for protection from Ukrainian troops. The Russian Defense Ministry said the operation, which targets Ukrainian military infrastructure, aims to "demilitarize and denazify" Ukraine, and to completely liberate Donbas.
Western nations have imposed numerous sanctions on Russia and have been supplying weapons to Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said any cargo that contains weaponry for Ukraine will become a legitimate target for Russia.
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