The California Guard recently welcomed a contingent of Ukrainian troops as part of a bilateral advise-and-assist rotation — and may send more of its own soldiers to Europe next year, an official said.

Members of Ukraine’s armed forces recently visited California National Guard facilities to learn more about Western ways of war amid the ongoing battle in the eastern part of the country between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian soldiers.

Lt. Gen. Yuriy Allerov, commander of the National Guard of Ukraine, and his staff members in November toured Camp Roberts, a major training base in central California that simulates just the kind of urban training environment the Ukrainian forces are accustomed to fighting in.

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Army Lt. Col. Jon Siepmann, director of strategic plans and policy for the California Military Department, said members of his counterpart service in Ukraine visit the state about five times a year, while California Guardsmen make eight times as many trips to Ukraine each year — a level that may increase in 2017.

“Maybe more,” Siepmann said of the level of planned rotations during a recent telephone interview with

Similar Responsibilities

Ukraine’s force is “a lot like our Guard in which it has both military responsibilities and emergency response,” he said.

How a Trump administration may steer the dialogue on Ukraine — and thus the U.S. military partnership — remains uncertain.

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