(CNSNews.com) – The Biden administration has not yet confirmed reports that it is sending Patriot missile batteries to Ukraine, but Russia already is reacting, warning that doing so “could entail possible consequences,” as a Russian government spokeswoman phrased it.
At the Pentagon on Thursday, reporters asked Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder if the U.S. is sending defensive Patriot missiles to Ukraine, as Ukraine has urgently requested amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
“So first of all, I don’t — don’t have any announcements to make today regarding any new security assistance packages,” Ryder said: “As always, we will continue to remain committed to providing Ukraine with the key capabilities that it needs to defend its — its nation.”
Ryder also told reporters, “We’re not going to allow comments from Russia to dictate the security assistance that we provide to Ukraine.” Ryder made it clear that “Russia is the aggressor here,” and could “de-escalate this situation today” by removing its invading forces from Ukraine.
“And the last thing I would say is, the U.S. is not at war with Russia and we do not seek conflict. Our focus is on providing Ukraine with the security assistance that it needs to defend itself, and that’s something we said we would do well before Russia chose to invade and something we will continue to do for as long as it takes.”
According to the manufacturer, Raytheon, Patriot missiles are capable of shooting down manned and unmanned aircraft, cruise missiles, and tactical ballistic missiles.
Although Ryder did not confirm reports that the U.S. is sending Patriot missiles to Ukraine, he did announce expanded U.S.-led training for Ukrainian troops.
“Combined arms maneuver training is a logical next step in our ongoing training efforts, which began in 2014, to build the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ capacity,” Ryder said. “While there’s an understandable focus on the equipment being provided to Ukraine, training is and has been essential to ensuring Ukraine has the skilled forces necessary to better defend themselves. “
Ryder said he expects the training to begin “in the January timeframe.” And in response to a question, he said he’s “not aware” that the training will require additional personnel: “As you know, we have forces in place that have been conducting training. So to — so to my knowledge, no significant increase in support,” Ryder said.
“What you can expect to see is that we will, as mentioned, bring in battalion-sized units. And it will begin with things like live fire exercises followed by squad-, platoon-, and company-level training that will then culminate in battalion-level maneuver training.
“Importantly, it will also include battalion headquarters staff training. So the way to think about this is, as you show up for your training, first you’re doing the — the classroom exercises to — to better understand what it is that you’re going to learn, right? It’s going to be crawl-walk-run.
“And then you’re going to shift to the practical application, starting from the — from the squad-platoon to the battalion level of applying these concepts, culminating in a field exercise where you’re getting into more advanced training scenarios, how to respond to situations.
“So again, you — you’ve heard Secretary Austin talk about that the equipment is important but it’s how to take that equipment and apply it in the field in a way that’s going to enable you to do combined arms and achieve decisive effects on the battlefield. And so this training will — will contribute to that.”
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