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A top U.S. military official in charge of joint training between American and Ukrainian troops in Germany said Wednesday that “the worst thing the Russians did was give us eight years to prepare” for its invasion of Ukraine.
Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Hilbert, the commanding general for the 7th Army Training Command, said Ukraine has participated in more than a dozen large exercises with U.S. troops in Germany since 2015.
“The worst thing the Russians did was give us eight years to prepare,” Hilbert said Thursday while speaking alongside Lt. Col. Jeremy Hopkins, chief of staff from the Florida Army National Guard’s 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
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“The Ukrainian soldiers are motivated, they are professional,” Hilbert added, noting that the U.S. is currently training 50 to 60 Ukrainian soldiers on how to operate M777 howitzer artillery in Grafenwoehr, Germany.
That weaponry has been sent to Ukraine’s military to help it in its fight against Russia.
“They want to get back to the fight,” Hilbert said. “They are here for a reason they know, and they want to get back to it.”
Hilbert also said the U.S. has trained more than 23,000 members of Ukraine’s armed forces from 17 different battalions and 11 different brigades, spending a total of $126 million on this program.
He added that the U.S. was planning for Ukrainian troops to lead a division-level exercise across the country before over 160 Florida National Guard troops pulled out of Ukraine in February, days before the invasion began.
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Russia annexed Crimea in early 2014 before launching its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.
“The war is going on for eight years now,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an exclusive interview Wednesday with Fox News’ Griff Jenkins. “The full-fledged war is going on for 70 days.”