February 20, 2023

Blumenthal & Whitehouse Travel to Germany to Observe Ukrainian Soldiers Training on New Weapon Systems

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) visited the U.S. Army Garrison in Grafenwöhr, Germany to observe Ukrainian servicemembers receiving combined arms training on equipment provided by the U.S. and European allies. Blumenthal and Whitehouse also met with American soldiers from Connecticut and Rhode Island who are stationed in Germany and who have been training Ukraine’s servicemembers on new military assets.

Blumenthal and Whitehouse visited U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria following the Munich Security Conference (MSC), which they attended with a bipartisan congressional delegation led by U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Whitehouse.

“We have been calling on global leaders to provide more weapon systems more quickly to Ukraine. Seeing American troops training Ukrainian warfighters was truly eye-opening – a real-time demonstration of highly skilled American soldiers showing how to use the most sophisticated weapons in defense of freedom and democracy,” Blumenthal said. “Almost always when we push for more robust support, we are told that training is too complicated and will take too long. From what we saw in Germany, the learning curve is far quicker than commonly thought. As we reach this war’s one-year anniversary, we must recognize the enormity of this conflict and the tremendous ability and resourcefulness of Ukraine’s soldiers. It was awesome to witness this vital training – the expertise of American teachers and the quick study of the Ukrainians.

“On our way back from Munich, we had the opportunity to observe Ukrainian servicemembers as they received training on armored vehicles provided by American and European allies,” said Whitehouse.  “As we approach one year of Putin’s brutal war, bipartisan support in Congress to ensure Ukrainian victory remains strong.”

The MSC is widely considered the world’s leading forum for international security policy. The conference is a “marketplace of ideas” where initiatives and solutions are developed and opinions are exchanged. It also provides a venue for diplomatic initiatives and ideas to cooperatively address the world’s most pressing security concerns.

Members of Congress traveling to the MSC include U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), U.S. Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ), U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME), U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and U.S. Representative David Cicilline (D-RI).

Blumenthal, Graham, and Whitehouse traveled to Kyiv, Ukraine in January to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and top military officials. This was Blumenthal and Graham’s second trip to Ukraine since the Russian invasion; the senators traveled to Kyiv in July to meet with President Zelenskyy and tour Bucha, where hundreds of Ukrainian citizens were massacred by Russian forces.


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