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1 Apr, 2024 14:45

Every NATO member has military personnel in Ukraine – Estonia

Western advisers and instructors are actively supporting Kiev’s forces against Russia, the defense minister has said
Every NATO member has military personnel in Ukraine – Estonia

Every NATO member already has military personnel in Ukraine, Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur claimed on Monday. Under no circumstances, however, will forces from the US-led bloc take part in the hostilities against Russia, the minister insisted in an interview with Austrian media outlet Die Presse.  

NATO servicemen are operating in the embattled country as advisers and are involved in training Ukrainian soldiers in Poland, the UK, and Estonia, Pevkur told the outlet. Western defense officials are currently planning to set up training camps in Ukraine in a bid to avoid issues with border crossings and to speed up the preparation process, he added.   

At the same time, Pevkur insisted there is no talk of NATO soldiers fighting directly in the conflict, stating that “this has already been ruled out.”  

“The reality is that every NATO member country already has military personnel in Ukraine, such as military attaches or people who travel to Ukraine from time to time,” the official said. “What [French] President [Emmanuel] Macron said mainly related to personnel training,” he added.   

Macron openly raised the possibility of putting NATO troops on the ground in Ukraine in February, saying that “we cannot exclude anything” and that the West “will do everything necessary to prevent Russia from winning this war.”  

The remarks, which Macron later described as having been “weighed, thought through, and measured,” prompted a wave of denials from a vast majority of NATO states and the bloc’s leadership. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg publicly refuted the idea shortly after Macron’s initial statement, saying that no plans existed to deploy troops to Ukraine. Numerous Western leaders, including US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, have also denied any such plans.  

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said any NATO troop deployments in Ukraine would not change the situation on the battlefield, given that Western soldiers are already active in the country as military advisers and mercenaries. He nonetheless warned that the ramifications of such a move would be “tragic.”

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