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Czechia won't send military instructors to Ukraine, defense minister says

by Kateryna Denisova June 8, 2024 8:12 PM 2 min read
Czech Defense Minister Jana Cernochova. (Jana Cernochova/Facebook)
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The Czech Republic may train up to 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers this year, but will not send instructors to Ukraine, Czech Defense Minister Jana Cernochova said in an interview with CTK published on June 8.

The day before, French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that Paris is forming a coalition of countries to send military instructors to train Ukrainian soldiers in Ukraine.

France is reportedly planning to initially send a limited number of personnel to assess the modalities of a mission before involving several hundred trainers, Reuters reported in late May, citing two unnamed diplomats.

Cernochova voiced support for the initiative, but said that unlike Czechia, such a move is practical for France and some other countries due to their distance from Ukraine.

"There are a few hundred kilometers to our Libava from the Slovak-Ukrainian border. So I can say for the Czech Republic that we are not planning anything like that at the moment," the minister said.

Kyiv has asked the U.S. and other NATO countries to help train 150,000 soldiers closer to the front lines, according to the New York Times.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed that the presence of French military instructors in Ukraine would be deemed a "legitimate target."

"We are not at war with Russia, we do not want an escalation, but we want to do everything we can to help Ukraine resist. Is it an escalation when Ukraine asks us to train mobilized soldiers on its sovereign soil? No,” Macron said on June 7.

"We already know that we will not be alone, and we will use the next few days to organize a broader coalition to respond to Ukraine's request."

Paris says it will respond to Russia after remarks about French instructors in Ukraine
Christophe Lemoine, deputy spokesperson of the French Foreign Ministry, said Paris is considering how to respond to Russian embassy spokesperson Alexander Makogonov’s remarks. “These are outrageous statements that will not go unanswered,” he said.

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