In a July 8 tweet, the Russian Embassy in London accused the United States of lying about its military presence in Ukraine.
The tweet read: “Americans always said they had no troops in Ukraine. And now this.” Underneath the comments was a photo of the lead paragraph of an article published in Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, with the phrase “pull US troops out of Ukraine” underlined.
The Telegraph article, written by the paper’s Whitehall editor, Edward Malnick, and headlined “Nato fears Donald Trump may pull troops out of Europe if countries do not increase defence spending,” was published on July 7 ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s arrival in Brussels for this week’s NATO summit. The article’s lead paragraph reads: “Donald Trump could threaten to pull U.S. troops out of Ukraine and refuse to take part in joint Nato exercises if Britain and other European countries fail to commit to increased spending on defence.”
A version of the article was also posted on the Telegraph’s website.
“American (and Canadian, Polish, and Lithuanian) military personnel have been in Ukraine for years supporting training efforts with the Ukrainian armed forces. No U.S. combat troops are – or ever have been – stationed in Ukraine,” U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker told Polygraph.info.
The United States announced in March 2015 that American military personnel would be deployed in Ukraine by the end of April of that year.
Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told Polygraph.info that the U.S. Defense Department will use its authorities under the Global Security Contingency Fund as part of a joint DoD-State Department initiative to strengthen Ukraine’s internal defense capabilities.
“We plan on sending about 290 U.S. service members, specifically paratroopers from the [Army’s] mighty 173rd ‘Sky Soldiers’ Airborne Brigade based in Vicenza, Italy,” Warren said. He noted that the U.S. personnel would train six Ukraine National Guard companies with a focus on internal security and territorial defense.
The U.S. military personnel in Ukraine are part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine (JMTG-U) based at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center. The JMTG-U has a public website and maintains a social media presence. According to its latest update, the training center is currently manned by the New York National Guard’s 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Independent sources confirm the numbers provided by the Pentagon. According to Bloomberg, last August there were approximately 250 U.S. military instructors of Oklahoma National Guard in Ukraine.