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Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis talks to media prior to an EU Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting on May 22, 2023, in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)
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Western military personnel training Ukrainian troops on the ground rather than in NATO countries would have practical advantages, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told the Guardian in an interview published on May 9.

Since the start of the full-scale invasion, over 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers have received training in 30 partner countries, over 30,000 of whom have received training in the U.K.

Landsbergis told the Guardian that training Ukrainians in their own country could be "more practical" than abroad.

Lithuania's parliament has already authorized Lithuanian troops to train inside Ukraine, but Landsbergis indicated "this would be best done as part of a bigger coalition," the Guardian said.

Lithuanian troops trained Ukrainians in Ukraine before the war "for many years," Landsbergis said, adding that "returning to this tradition might be quite doable."

"It could be that the trainers stationed as part of the coalition to train the Ukrainians in Ukraine could be defended with air defense, and that in turn implies that part of Ukrainian sky could be defended with air defense," Landsbergis said.

The move would show the Kremlin that the West can "adapt to the situation because the situation is not getting better," Landsbergis said.

Sending Western trainers to Ukraine would be a "first step in President (Emmanuel) Macron's initiative," referring to the French president's remarks in March that he would not rule out the possibility of sending Western troops to Ukraine.

Macron repeated this sentiment in an interview with the Economist published on May 2, saying that he would consider sending troops to Ukraine in the case of a Russian breakthrough at the front or if Ukraine requested it.

Macron's remarks had caused the Kremlin to change calculations, Landsbergis told the Guardian.

US military battalion to remain in Lithuania indefinitely
The American military battalion stationed in Lithuania will remain in the country indefinitely, not just until 2025 as previously planned, Lithuanian Defense Minister Laurynas Kasciunas said on May 2.
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