US mulls sending more military advisers to Ukraine

Pentagon — The United States may send additional military advisers to its embassy in Kyiv to advise and support the Ukrainian government and military, Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told VOA Monday.


The troops would serve in a “non-combat” role, Ryder said.   


“Throughout this conflict, the DOD (Department of Defense) has reviewed and adjusted our presence in-country, as security conditions have evolved. Currently, we are considering sending several additional advisers to augment the Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) at the embassy,” Ryder said in a statement.


Two U.S. defense officials, speaking to VOA on the condition of anonymity to discuss plans that were not finalized, said the number of advisers was “small” and could fluctuate slightly based on embassy requirements. A source familiar with the considerations said the number of troops was “fewer than two dozen.”


The troops could advise on missions ranging from logistics, maintenance, communications and sustainment, the defense officials added.


Per the Pentagon, the ODC performs a variety of advisory and support missions and is embedded within the U.S. Embassy under the chief of the mission.  


Politico was first to report the additional troop consideration.


The Pentagon’s latest troop discussion comes after the U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday passed a four-part, $95 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.


House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, structured the bills so that they could be combined into one after each bill was approved, to prevent opposition to any one piece from derailing the entire deal. Johnson had declined to bring the aid packages to the floor for a vote for months. The Senate had passed a supplemental aid bill in February, as Ukraine said ammunition shortages were causing its forces to pull back in areas.

The newly-passed House legislation includes $61 billion for Kyiv’s ongoing war against Moscow’s invasion, as well as $26 billion for Israel and humanitarian aid for civilians in conflict zones, including Gaza, and $8 billion for the Indo-Pacific region.


President Joe Biden in a statement Saturday urged the Senate to “quickly send this package to my desk so that I can sign it into law, and we can quickly send weapons and equipment to Ukraine to meet their urgent battlefield needs.”


He said the bills advanced U.S. national security interests and sends “a clear message about the power of American leadership on the world stage.”

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