URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — An Urbana-based Illinois National Guard unit is set to mobilize Saturday for deployment to Ukraine.
Illinois National Guard officials say about 165 soldiers will deploy to the country as part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine (JMTG-U) initiative, in support of United States European Command operations.
The soldiers are with the Illinois Army National Guard’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, of Urbana.
The deployment unit is nicknamed ‘Task Force Illini’. Its soldiers will advise and assist Ukrainian Armed Forces with the development of their Yavoriv Combat Training Center, located in western Ukraine.
The JMTG-U initiative began in 2015 with the objective of aiding the country’s defensive capabilities. It’s part of ongoing efforts by the U.S. with helping Ukraine’s long-term military reform, at the request of their government.
Illinois National Guard soldiers will not be actively involved in operations in Ukraine’s conflict area. They will be in the country strictly for training and advising purposes only.
A mobilization ceremony is set for Saturday afternoon. Families and the general public are prohibited however, because of COVID-19 concerns.