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Immediate Release

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III Holds Call With Ukrainian Forces Training in the U.S.

The following is attributed to John Kirby, Pentagon spokesman:

This morning, via videoconference, Secretary Austin spoke to a small number of Ukrainian forces who are returning to Ukraine today from the United States. 
These Ukrainian troops were participating in a pre-scheduled professional military education program at the Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School (NAVSCIATTS) in Biloxi, Miss. when Russia's invasion of Ukraine began on February 24.

The Secretary thanked them for their service and for their courage, noting the skill with which the Ukrainian Armed Forces are fighting Russia's unprovoked invasion. And he pledged continued U.S support for providing and coordinating additional security assistance.

The Ukrainians were in the United States as part of the Defense Department's long history of hosting Ukrainian service members for training and education. NAVSCIATTS is a Security Cooperation school operating under United States Special Operations Command in support of Foreign Security Assistance and Geographic Combatant Commanders' Theater Security Cooperation priorities. 
The Ukrainian forces received training on patrol craft operations, communications, and maintenance while at NASVSCIATTS. 
Since the conclusion of the NAVSCIATTS course in early March, the U.S. military provided the group additional advanced tactical training and training on the systems the United States has provided to Ukraine, including on the Switchblade UAV. 
Today was the group’s last day in the United States. They spoke to Secretary Austin from the U.S. Navy’s base at Little Creek, VA., where they were completing additional advanced tactical training. 

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