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US army walks cultural minefield training Ukraine troops

Ukrainian and US soldiers attend an opening ceremony of the joint Ukraine-US military exercise at the Yavoriv training ground on April 20, 2015US paratrooper Gregory Crocker is giving a group of Ukrainian soldiers lesson one in dealing with an unexploded bomb: don’t touch it until the experts arrive. Among the 300 US paratroopers and 900 members of Ukraine’s National Guard in Operation Fearless Guardian, there is laughter and camaraderie — but also language barriers and mutual cultural bafflement. “Yesterday we had our first day of training and it was really difficult, and now it is (still) difficult,” said one of them, Artem Matza, a 19-year-old National Guard cadet. “I was born in Ukraine and lived part of my life here, so I understand both sides very well,” said one US soldier, Anton Klokun, in Ukrainian.

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