Oklahoma senators spar over training Ukrainian troops in the state
The use of Oklahoma’s federal military training grounds to prepare Ukrainian soldiers to use high-tech American weaponry in their war against Russia has state senators bitterly divided.
Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, filed a resolution to prevent the Pentagon from sending the 100 Ukrainian troops to the Sooner State.
“This resolution rejects this attempt by the feds to put foreign troops in Oklahoma,” Dahm said in a statement. “It even encourages the governor, county officials, and law enforcement to use their powers to prohibit these foreign troops from being on Oklahoma soil.”
Oklahoma Senate leaders are defending the Pentagon’s decision to send Ukrainian soldiers to Fort Sill for training on the Patriot air defense system. They said the state has “a rich history of training programs with different countries.”
“Oklahoma has had partnerships with military forces from partner countries to train and maintain the safety and security of the United States and other allied countries for decades,” the statement said. “To cut these ties would be akin to jeopardizing our national security. The resolution that was issued does not speak for the vast majority of the Oklahoma Senate, or Oklahomans, who welcome training exercises to defend the lands we love and our neighbors in other countries. We hope the troops from other countries currently training on our beloved military installations in Oklahoma feel welcomed and experience what makes our state the best in the country.”
The statement was attributed to Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City; Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada; Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah; Sen. John Michael Montgomery, R-Lawton; Sen. Brenda Stanley, R-Midwest City; Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, and Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City.
Dahm said the move was part of the “America Last” policies that “should not be tolerated in Oklahoma.”
“We saw how recently the Ukrainian military fired a rocket into Poland killing two innocent civilians,” Dahm said. “We certainly don’t need them practicing here in Oklahoma where our citizens could be under the constant threat of a similar failure. We shouldn’t be allowing the unaccountable spending, corruption, and potential money laundering to now flow through Oklahoma with the presence of foreign troops on our land.”
The Pentagon said Tuesday that Ukrainian troops would begin training at Fort Sill as soon as next week.
If adopted, Senate Concurrent Resolution 2 would remain in effect until another resolution took its place to ensure the Federal government doesn’t send more foreign troops to Oklahoma, according to Dahm.
Rep Jim Olsen, R-Roland, sponsored the resolution in the House of Representatives.