Senior US army commanders informed senators in December 2021 they planned to send a “few hundred” more special operations forces to Ukraine to give military assistance and unconventional warfare instruction.
Russia gathered around 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border at the time; fears of an expanding invasion are increasing in the USA and Europe.
Russia has everyone shaking
As per two people involved with the two December discussions with legislators and legislative aides, White House officials were concerned about the commitment; the soldiers were never sent.
They also claimed that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin planned to ask President Biden for his approval of the mission immediately.
According to the two persons, a senior military officer informed House legislators the White House was worried deploying the soldiers would exacerbate an already volatile situation with Russia.
According to a third legislative source, a Pentagon official informed the Senate Armed Services Committee the plans had been canceled, due to the concerns.
The Biden government thought diplomacy could still succeed, but was concerned an inflow of US soldiers would jeopardize such efforts.
The discussions took place at a very difficult time for the United States and Ukraine, as American officials experience precise intelligence with NATO members about Russia’s impending invasion.
“No such proposals” for further training exercises, according to a White House official, “were ever brought” to the White House or the National Security Agency.
Biden, as well as the White House, did not “stop any organized training efforts for Ukraine until U.S. soldiers were shifted in February,” according to a Defense Department source.
Neither source would speak on the briefings on Capitol Hill or whether a plan was considered unofficially with the White House that did not meet the criteria for an initial proposal.
Interview requests were not returned by European Command or Special Operations Command.
The choice not to send in staff was part of a trend, according to Ilan Berman, a senior vice president of the American Foreign Affairs Institute, who has spoken with the CIA and the Department of State.
Ukrainians desperately needed the training
As per the three sources, the operatives would have educated Ukrainian forces in resistance movements and guerrilla warfare approaches.
For years, the United States has provided Ukraine with armaments, including Javelin anti-tank rockets, as well as training on how to employ them.
At the Yavoriv site, US Green Berets, as well as National Guard soldiers, have been teaching the Ukrainian military since 2015. On Sunday, a volley of around 30 Russian cruise missiles hit that training site near the Polish border, killing nearly 35 people.
Ukraine’s special operations troops have spent years operating with American and NATO special operations units, with close ties to the United Kingdom, Norway, and a number of Balkan countries.
They’ve also flown across Europe to take part in NATO exercises, such as the Combined Resolve training in Germany in December, where they were joined by American regular and special operations personnel.