The Pentagon was reportedly aware of impending developments in Ukraine, including US troops not speaking Ukrainian, according to sources.

“We have no Ukrainian-specific linguists. We don’t train Ukrainian,” said Staff Sgt. Bobby Brown, airborne language analyst program manager to the Air Force Times during a visit to Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

Military linguists on board Air Force spy aircraft had been monitoring eastern Europe for months as adjacent Russian forces prepared to attack neighboring Ukraine in February. The United States had expressed its support for the second-largest nation in Europe and committed more than $1 billion in military aid.

The Air Force scrambled to recruit personnel who could pass the Pentagon’s Ukrainian language competence test as the predicament around Ukraine’s borders — and subsequently, inside them — became more perilous.

Some who had connections to the nation through family already spoke Ukrainian, while others who had a zeal for learning did. Because the Russian and English alphabets, grammar, and vocabulary are similar, aircrew who learn Russian may also be capable of helping.

According to Service Spokesperson Laura McAndrews, the Air Force can monitor linguistic competence in the military personnel systems. As a result, it can immediately spot airmen and guardians with the required language abilities.

About a dozen languages, including French, Spanish, Indonesian, Farsi, Russian, Tagalog, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Pashto, and four dialects of Arabic, are taught to service members at the Defense Language Institute of the Pentagon.

“The Department of the Air Force has the ability to track language capabilities in the military personnel systems and can quickly identify airmen/guardians with the required language skills, to include Ukrainian,” McAndrews said.