US starts training of some Ukrainian troops on howitzer artillery

Ukrainian service members operate a 2A65 Msta-B howitzer during artillery and anti-aircraft drills near the border with Russian-annexed Crimea in the Kherson region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released January 28, 2022. Press Service of the Joint Forces Operation/Handout via REUTERS

WASHINGTON, April 20 (Reuters) - The United States military has started training a small number of Ukrainian troops on using howitzer artillery, a senior U.S. defense official said on Wednesday, adding the training was being conducted outside of Ukraine and would take about a week.

"It's a smallish number of Ukrainians, a little bit more than 50," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden announced an additional $800 million in military assistance to Ukraine, expanding the aid to include heavy artillery ahead of a wider Russian assault expected in eastern Ukraine.

Reporting by Phil Stewart and Susan Heavey

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