US forces have much to learn from Ukraine’s fight with Russia, says State Department official

19.07.19 | By Military Times
US forces have much to learn from Ukraine’s fight with Russia, says State Department official

State Department official tells Military Times that the ongoing battle between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists serves as a potential harbinger for the U.S. military in any conflict with Moscow.

“Ukraine is a laboratory of techniques and procedures,” George P. Kent, deputy assistant secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau at the U.S. Department of State, told Military Times Tuesday afternoon. “The Russian military runs a sniper training school there. Instead of doing it on a range in Russia, they just do on the front lines with Ukraine. Much of the equipment that they are developing that shows up elsewhere, including in Syria, they try out first in Ukraine.”

The “full spectrum” of Russian military doctrine has been on display in Ukraine for the last five years, since they took over the Crimea, assisted rebels in the east and in November captured 24 Ukrainian sailors and three vessels after opening fire on them in the Kerch Strait, linking the Black Sea and Sea of Azov. Those sailors remain captives.

That doctrine includes the use of conventional forces like mechanized infantry backed by armor and artillery, special forces, assassination and bombings, electronic warfare, cyber attacks, and the weaponization of information. It is a combination of efforts often referred to as “hybrid warfare.”

US forces have much to learn from Ukraine’s fight with Russia, says State Department official

The U.S. military is paying very close attention to how the Russians fight in Ukraine and the equipment and tactics and techniques they are employing.

“I think there is a great opportunity, even as we are helping the Ukrainian military build its own resilience against Russian aggression, for us to learn from the modern way of Russia doing war in Ukraine,” he said.