US small arms and ammunition are expected to arrive in Ukraine while the Pentagon educates troops to train the country’s military

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President Joe Biden approved the package on September 1 when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the White House. The aid included deadly elements such as Javelin anti-tank missiles as well as non-lethal elements, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Wednesday.
The security package is designed to strengthen Ukraine’s self-defense capability, especially given the establishment of Russian forces near the country’s borders. The US is watching the movements with growing concern, and US officials have been in contact with their NATO and European counterparts to coordinate a response should Russian President Vladimir Putin decide to invade Ukraine.
This year the U.S. provided Ukraine with approximately $ 450 million in security aid, Kirby said, including items that arrived this week. Since 2014, when Russia invaded and occupied the Crimean peninsula, the US has provided Ukraine with more than $ 2.5 billion in aid.

The US military is also helping train Ukrainian armed forces.

In November, approximately 150 members of the Florida National Guard’s Task Force Gator were deployed to Ukraine as part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, replacing the Washington National Guard. Established in 2015, the training group aimed to improve Ukraine’s defense capabilities.

In addition to Task Force Gator, Special Operations Command Europe has a “major role” in training and advising Ukrainian special forces through exercises, communication and coordination “at every level,” the Pentagon said in a statement on Tuesday.

For security reasons, the Pentagon did not disclose how many special forces were in Ukraine.

“Training with our Ukrainian partners cultivates trust, strengthens readiness and develops relationships, which in turn promotes peace and stability across Europe,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Anton Semelroth said in the statement.

The Pentagon would not comment on the schedules for training, operations, or deployments, nor would it say whether any schedules have changed in light of the build-up of Russian forces near Ukraine.

Marines from Europe and the region are operating across the continent for training and exercises, the Pentagon said, and thousands of Marines from the II Marine Expeditionary Force will be participating in the biannual cold response exercise in Norway next year.

The US Army Europe and Africa trains in Poland, Lithuania, Romania, Germany, the Netherlands and Greece.

The Florida National Guard’s 164th Air Defense Artillery Brigade is based in Ansbach, Germany.

UPDATE: This story and headline has been updated with an updated State Department timeline on a Security Aid Package to Ukraine.

CNN’s Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.


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