Milley spoke with Gen. Valery Zaluzhny for two hours, a military spokesman told The Washington Post. The meeting between the countries’ top military officers comes after the Biden administration reportedly made a “substantive” change in its aid to Ukraine, sending more offensive weapons to Zelensky, who is seeking to capitalize on Russia’s apparent setbacks in recent months.
“It’s important that two very important military officials look at each other in the eye when they talk about very important topics. It makes a difference,” U.S. military spokesman David Butler said, according to the Post.
Milley reportedly left a U.S. base in Poland that American troops use to funnel aid to Ukraine and traveled close to the Ukrainian border for the meeting. The officials kept the meeting a secret until it had concluded, citing safety concerns, and no photography was allowed at the meeting. The rendezvous marked the first time Milley and Zaluzhny met in person.
On Monday, Milley visited the new joint military training program in Germany, where U.S. troops are instructing Ukrainian forces and preparing them for more offensive warfare against Russia. The expanded training of Ukrainian forces began on Sunday, and Milley hopes it will result in 500 Ukrainian soldiers hitting the battlefield in the next five to eight weeks.
“This is not a run of the mill rotation,” Milley said Monday as he overlooked the training, the Associated Press reported. “This is one of those moments in time where if you want to make a difference, this is it.”
The military leaders of the U.S. and Ukraine met as Russia announced that it will increase its military to 1.5 million people and create new structures along its border with Finland. Russia’s move is a response to a “proxy war” the country believes the U.S. and its allies are waging in Ukraine, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Bloomberg reported.
Along with expanded training for Ukrainian forces, the Biden administration announced earlier this month that Zelensky’s forces will receive 50 Bradley Fighting Vehicles along with long-range rocket systems. The administration’s announcement came less than one month after Zelensky visited the White House and begged Congress for more aid.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the weapons and vehicles included in the latest aid package will help the Ukrainians shift to warfare in the open farmlands of the Donbas region, the eastern section of Ukraine annexed by Russian President Vladimir Putin last September, Bloomberg reported.