Hundreds of US paratroopers have arrived in Ukraine to train its forces fighting pro-Russian rebels, the US army said Friday, a move Moscow warned could "destabilise" the war-torn ex-Soviet country.
"Soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade have been arriving over the last week," Donald Wrenn, a US army spokesman, told AFP.
"We will have about 300 soldiers from the brigade on the ground providing the training that will last over the next six months."
The move raised heckles in Moscow, which accuses the United States of backing the protests that brought down Ukraine's Kremlin-backed president Viktor Yanukovych last year.
"The participation of instructors and experts from third countries on Ukrainian territory... of course, does not help to resolve the conflict," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Pekov said.
"On the contrary, it can seriously destabilise the situation," he said, quoted by Russian news agencies.
Following Yanukovych's ouster and Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, a pro-Russia uprising in east Ukraine sparked a conflict that has killed more than 6,000 people and injured nearly 15,500 over the past year, according to the United Nations.
17 April 2015
US boots are now on the ground in Ukraine to train forces fighting pro-Russia rebels
Posted by Brant at 18:55