U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch visited the Soldiers of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine and toured the International Peacekeeping and Security Center at Yavoriv, Ukriaine, October 27.
The visit began with a briefing from Col. Nick Ducich, commander of JMTG-U and Lt. Gen. Pavlo Tkachuk, commander of Ukraine’s Land Forces Academy. Following the briefing, the ambassador had a chance to tour Central City, which houses and supports the training units as well as the rotational Ukrainian forces.
“It’s a pretty impressive operation in terms of the setup and the example we are showing the Ukrainians,” Yovanovitch said. “It’s really clear that it’s just not cooperation but it’s a partnership. In terms of how we work with the Ukrainians, how they work with us and how the training program is going.”
The Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine is made up of U.S. Soldiers from the California National Guard and Task Force Mustang from 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. JMTG-U is partnered with Soldiers from Lithuania, Poland and Canada to directly train Ukrainian ground forces while simultaneously developing an enduring and sustainable combat training center in Ukraine.
Ambassador Yovanovitch spoke of the importance of our partnership with Ukraine and specifically the significant role that JMTG-U’s mission plays in that relationship.
“A Bilateral relationship is made up of many different parts. There’s obviously the government part, there’s commercial relations, there’s people to people relations. Within the government sphere there’s diplomatic relations, but there’s also mil to mil (military to military) relations. That, especially right now, I think that’s important, because for us to use that phrase of ‘Europe, whole, free and at peace,’ that is important for us,” Yovanovitch said. “Ukraine is a part of Europe and if we can help them fulfill that dream, I think that’s in our strategic interest and I think it’s in the interest of the trans-Atlantic alliance. The mil to mil part of helping Ukraine build up its security, build up its capabilities is obviously a crucial part of that.”
During her tour of the facilities the ambassador also had the opportunity to engage with Soldiers. She said she was impressed with their morale and dedication to the mission.
“One individual told me he has been doing this kind of work for a while, working with partner countries to help with training and this is by far his best experience because the Ukrainians are engaged and capable and want to learn,” she said. “From a professional point of view it is very satisfying.”
Although this isn’t her first assignment as an ambassador nor her first assignment in Ukraine (she served as Deputy Chief of Mission from 2001 to 2004), Ambassador Yovanovitch has only been in her current position for two months. This was her first opportunity to visit JMTG-U and the IPSC, but she said it will definitely not be her last.
“This is a huge part of our relationship and it’s important. I hear so much about it and I talk so much about it, so it was important for me to come out here and see for myself.”
As reported by Captain Scott Kuhn