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NATO considers sending trainers to Ukraine as Russia advances

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NATO allies are getting closer to sending troops into Ukraine to train Ukrainian troops, a move that will once again blur previous red lines and could draw the United States and Europe more directly into the war.

Ukraine’s manpower shortages have reached a breaking point, and Ukraine’s battlefield position has seriously deteriorated in recent weeks as Russia took advantage of delays in U.S. arms shipments to accelerate its advance. As a result, Ukrainian officials are asking their U.S. and NATO counterparts to help train 150,000 new troops closer to the front lines so they can deploy more quickly.

The United States has so far said it will not, but Gen. Charles Q. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday that a NATO deployment of trainers seemed inevitable. “Over time, we will eventually get there,” he said.

For now, he said, operations in Ukraine would put “a group of NATO trainers at risk” and would likely mean a decision on whether to use valuable air defense systems to protect the trainers rather than critical Ukrainian infrastructure near the battlefield. General Brown briefed reporters on his flight to Brussels for a NATO meeting.

As part of NATO, the United States is obligated under the alliance’s treaties to help defend against any attack on trainer aircraft that could drag the United States into war.

The White House has maintained that it will not send U.S. troops, including trainers, to Ukraine, a position an administration official reiterated Thursday. The U.S. government also urged NATO allies not to send troops.

But in February, French President Emmanuel Macron said he would “not rule out anything” when it came to sending Western troops to Ukraine. Macron has since hardened his rhetoric, including after top U.S. diplomats asked him to stop.

Estonia’s national security adviser said the Estonian government would not rule out the possibility of sending troops to western Ukraine to take over rear roles so that Ukrainian troops could rush to the front lines. say this week.

Gabriel Landsbergis, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Support Mr Macron’s position In an interview with The Guardian last week. “Our troops had been training Ukrainians in Ukraine before the war,” he added, “so it might be perfectly feasible to revive that tradition.”

The U.S. military has trained Ukrainian troops in Poland, Germany and the United States, but withdrawing troops from Ukraine is time-consuming. U.S. officials now acknowledge that Ukrainian troops’ current training is not enough and that they need better and faster training to deter a Russian offensive this summer.

The United States had helped launch a NATO training program in Yavoriv in western Ukraine, but U.S. troops withdrew from there when the war began.

U.S. and allied training has not always been successful. U.S. soldiers were in Germany to train Ukrainian forces in mobile warfare, mine clearance and other tasks ahead of last summer’s Ukrainian counteroffensive. But learning how to coordinate the use of tanks, artillery and infantry units is difficult, especially in just 12 weeks. Compounding the problem, Ukraine faces a battlefield that is very different and far more intense than what U.S. forces have experienced in recent years.

Military officials acknowledged that moving training to Ukraine would allow U.S. trainers to more quickly gather information about innovations taking place on the Ukrainian front, potentially allowing them to adopt their training.

NATO last month asked Gen. Christopher G. Cavalli, the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, to come up with a way to reduce risks by doing more to help Ukraine. One possibility is to train Ukrainian troops in Lviv, in the country’s west, near the border with Poland, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.

But Russia has bombed Lviv, including weeks ago when Russian cruise missiles struck critical infrastructure there.

Some officials say large numbers of Ukrainian recruits may still be sent to sprawling training grounds in Germany and Poland.

But logistically, it would require transporting the troops to the U.S. Army training range in Grafenwoehl, Germany, putting them through complex exercises designed to teach them how to operate jointly, and then transporting the troops nearly 1,000 miles through Lever husband, and then deployed to the front via Kwów.

“Remember, when Russia first invaded Crimea in 2014, we sent more troops to Ukraine, trained Ukrainian forces in western Ukraine, and we rotated them until 2022 when we got scared and withdrew them,” Iraq Phryne Farkas said she served as the top Pentagon official responsible for Ukraine affairs during the Obama administration. “Now, when Ukraine is short of manpower on the front lines, it should come as no surprise to anyone that NATO members and alliance leadership are considering how to help again from behind.”

Other NATO allies, including Britain, Germany and France, are working to set up bases of defense contractors in Ukraine to help build and repair weapons systems close to combat zones – what military officials call a “repair forward” approach. Current and former U.S. defense officials said the White House is currently reviewing a ban on U.S. defense contractors entering Ukraine, although State Department authorities have allowed a small number of contractors to work in Ukraine on certain weapons systems such as the Patriot air defense system.

“There was misconduct by our allies in providing Ukraine with massive amounts of Western equipment but not providing them with the resources to sustain it,” said Alexander S. Vindman, a retired Army Lt. Col. who was born in Ukraine. Vindman said. American Veterans.

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