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Reuters: France could soon send its military instructors to Ukraine, sources say

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 30, 2024 2:33 PM 2 min read
French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky prior to a meeting at the Elysee Presidential Palace on Feb. 16, 2024, in Paris, France. (Chesnot/Getty Images)
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Paris could soon send its military trainers to Ukraine despite concerns of some Western allies, Reuters reported on May 30, citing three undisclosed sources in diplomatic circles.

France may announce its decision next week during a visit by President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to Reuters.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry said on May 27 that Kyiv has been discussing with France and other countries the possible presence of foreign instructors on the ground in Ukraine.

Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces Oleksandr Syrskyi said earlier on the same day that he had already signed documents "that will allow the first French instructors to visit training centers soon."

"The arrangements are very advanced, and we could expect something next week," one of the sources told Reuters.

Paris hopes to establish and lead a coalition of states to assist Kyiv in such a way despite the fears of some European Union partners that it may provoke a direct conflict with Russia.

France plans to initially send a limited number of personnel to assess the modalities of a mission before involving several hundred trainers, Reuters said, referring to two diplomats.

Training would focus on demining, keeping equipment operational, and technical expertise for warplanes to be provided by the West, the sources said.

The French government would also finance, arm, and train a Ukrainian motorized brigade, according to the news agency.

The Ukrainian president will arrive in Paris on June 6 on the 80th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied soldiers landed in Normandy to drive out Nazi German forces during World War II.

The next day, Zelensky will hold talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

Some NATO member states are discussing the possibility of sending military instructors or contractors to Ukraine to train Ukrainian troops and assist with equipment repairs, the New York Times reported in mid-May.

Kyiv has asked the U.S. and other NATO countries to help train 150,000 soldiers closer to the front lines, the outlet wrote.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said in late May that "there are countries who are training soldiers on the ground already," without naming any specific countries or providing any further details on their purported operations in Ukraine.

Macron says he would consider sending troops to Ukraine in case of Russian breakthrough, Ukrainian request
French President Emmanuel Macron added that such conditions did not currently exist.
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