So with 20,000 Russian troops in Crimea, has that changed Ukraine’s role at U.S. Central Command, where it has a senior national representative to the command’s international coalition? Or with the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan?
No, says Mark Blackington, a Centcom spokesman.
“The Ukraine [Senior National Representative] is still in Tampa and his role has not changed,” Blackington tells me via email. “He is still assigned to the command to act as a liaison and advisor.”
When I asked for the name and rank of the Ukraine SNR stationed at MacDill Air Force Base, Blackington referred me to the Ukraine Embassy. Calls there and to the Ukraine Ministry of Defense were not returned. Busy times, I get that.
Ukraine has had a presence in Afghanistan, since 2007, through ISAF.
According to the Ukraine Ministry of Defense webpage, that besieged nation has 22 troops in Afghanistan. Among them are an officer at the headquarters in Kabul, three military doctors and seven demining specialists.
Despite the troubles at home, Ukraine still has about 20 troops in Afghanistan, Blackington says.
Up until last year, there was a Russian contingent to the international coalition, which has 55 members.
Blackington referred more detailed questions about the Russian SNR to the Russian embassy.
“You would have to ask the Russians why they left,” says Blackington. “It was their decision to leave.”
I sent out an email to their press office, but with Crimea and all, they, like the folks from Ukraine, may be a little busy.