Head of California National Guard Says He is Both Happy and Sad as Ukraine Troops Face Russian Soldiers
As Ukrainian troops face off the Russian army, the leader of the California National Guard, Major Gen. David Baldwin is both sad and proud as he reminisces how California National Guard had, for a long term, trained Ukraine troops.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, California helped Ukraine develop its military in 1993.
“We are ready to stand until the last one,” said Iryna Kravchuk, a Ukrainian soldier. “We have no other options and we are doing our jobs successfully.
The 27-year-old has been in the thick of the fight to defend her country. Over the past two weeks, her battalion has seen many things as they engaged the Russian forces, NBC Bay Area report.
“They constantly strike from the air,” Kravchuk said.
“They strike hospitals, kindergartens, schools, churches, and all kinds of civilian objects.
As a result of their training from the California National Guard, Kravchuk said Ukrainian soldiers are motivated and strong.
Over the past 30 years, the California National Guard has conducted hundreds of training exercises with Ukraine under a state partnership program.
Major General David Baldwin said it has been hard to watch what they have been preparing for actually happening.
“I couldn’t believe that Putin had actually done it, even though we knew he intended to,” Baldwin explained.
“And then of course profound sadness because all of this time we had spent working with Ukrainians to prepare for them, the moment had come. But now we feel immense pride to see how brave and resilient the Ukrainian armed forces have been in the resilience of the Ukrainian people.”
Krevchuk said she was taught by the guard.
“Worked with the California National Guard during some international exercises here in Ukraine, so I know they are professional,” Kravchuk said. “They helped a lot.”
However, the soldier stated that more assistance is needed.
She lauds the civilians from the United States who have begun traveling to Ukrainian battlefields to fight alongside them.
“We are really glad to have so many people, so many brothers in arms who are willing to fight for us,” Kravchuk said.