NATO considers sending instructors to Ukraine - NYT

NATO troops
NATO troops. Illustrative photo. Source: Military Times

NATO countries are considering sending instructors to Ukraine to train members of the Defense Forces. Leaders of some states do not rule out such a development in the future, but the United States insists that it will not deploy American troops, including instructors, on Ukrainian territory.

This was stated by The New York Times, noting that the Alliance is considering such a potential possibility "as Russia advances". "NATO allies are inching closer to sending troops to Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces. This step will be another blurring of the previous red line," the journalists believe.

The article states that there is a critical shortage of personnel in the Defense Forces. The situation of Ukraine's defenders has deteriorated in recent weeks as the Russian Armed Forces have stepped up their offensive to take advantage of delays in the delivery of American weapons.

"As a result, Ukrainian officials have turned to their American and NATO counterparts to help train 150,000 recruits closer to the front lines for faster deployment," the NYT reported.

Officially, Washington is against this because it fears being drawn into a war. But Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on May 16 that the deployment of NATO trainers to Ukraine seems inevitable. "We will get there eventually," he said.

However, foreign troops on Ukrainian territory will be in danger. Decisions will likely have to be made about whether to use valuable air defense assets to protect trainers instead of critical infrastructure near the battlefield.

In February, French President Emmanuel Macron said that "nothing should be ruled out" when talking about the option of sending Western troops to Ukraine. Since then, he has strengthened his comments even after senior U.S. diplomats asked him to stop.

The Estonian government has not ruled out the possibility of sending troops to western Ukraine to perform rear-guard functions that would help free up Ukrainian troops to be deployed to the front.

The French position was also supported by Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis in an interview with The Guardian last week. "Our troops trained Ukrainians in Ukraine before the [full-scale] war. So a return to this tradition may be quite feasible," he said.

U.S. instructors have been training Ukrainian troops in Poland, Germany, and the United States, but the Defense Forces are spending more time on this. U.S. officials acknowledge that current training is insufficient and too slow, especially in the face of an expected Russian offensive this summer.

Moving the training to Ukraine would allow instructors to gather information on the front lines more quickly, potentially improving training.

Frontline in Ukraine

As previously reported, General Christopher Cavoli, Commander of NATO's Allied Forces Europe, believes that the Russian offensive in the north of Kharkiv region is unlikely to result in a strategic breakthrough for the aggressor. The occupiers do not have enough forces and equipment.

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