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Estonian official says Tallinn ‘seriously’ discussing sending troops to Ukraine for non-combat roles

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 13, 2024 9:35 PM 2 min read
NATO soldiers walk through the snow-covered military training area on a winter exercise in Estonia, on Feb. 10, 2024. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Alexander Welscher/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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The Estonian government is "seriously" discussing the potential deployment of Estonian troops in non-combat roles in Ukraine, said Madis Roll, the national security advisor to the president, in an interview with Breaking Defense published on May 13.

The comments came after the head of Estonia's Armed Forces, General Martin Herem, said earlier in May that there had been talks about the possibility of sending Estonian soldiers to western Ukraine.  

Roll said that "discussions are ongoing."

"We should be looking at all the possibilities. We shouldn't have our minds restricted as to what we can do," he added.

While Estonia would prefer to send troops as part of a NATO-wide mission, Roll said that a smaller coalition would not be ruled out.

Roll did not specify what kind of non-combat duties the troops could potentially do.

The notion of Western troops being sent to Ukraine has been hotly debated since French President Emmanuel Macron said that Western military presence in Ukraine cannot be "ruled out" in the future. The U.S. and multiple European allies, as well as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, have distanced themselves from Macron’s statement.

Macron has nonetheless stood by his suggestion, saying again in May that he would consider sending French troops to Ukraine in the case of a Russian breakthrough or a Ukrainian request.

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