Lithuania ready to join France in sending military instructors to Ukraine

Ingrida Šimonytė
Ingrida Šimonytė

Lithuania is ready to send instructors to train Ukrainian troops in Ukraine, Lithuania’s Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė said in an interview with Bloomberg in Singapore.

This step is possible in cooperation with other countries interested, she added.

"Lithuania may train them in Ukraine, if necessary, as well in partnership with countries that want to do it," Šimonite said, stressing the need to do everything to help Ukraine preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Possible NATO troop deployment to Ukraine

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Ukraine's Western allies will create a coalition to provide the Ukrainian Armed Forces with long-range weapons, and the deployment of Western troops to Ukraine in the future cannot be ruled out, French President Emmanuel Macron said after a conference in support of Ukraine held in Paris on February 26.

Several NATO countries publicly rejected the idea of sending troops to Ukraine in response to Macron's statements, including Poland, the USA, Germany, Czechia, Canada, and Great Britain.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas kept troop deployment possibility open.

He was only speaking about training missions, Anusauskas clarified.

"All options should be left open," the Netherlands' General Staff Chief, General Onno Eichelsheim, said.

European NATO members had been studying the possibility of sending Alliance troops to Ukraine for weeks, AFP reported, citing a source.

French troops can participate in the war on the side of Ukraine to protect certain borders, participate in exercises, or for ground air defense, French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said on February 29. He ruled out the participation of French soldiers in battles "directly on the front line."

NATO members' foreign ministers agreed on the creation of a NATO special mission to increase support for Ukraine, Poland's Foreign Affairs Minister, Radosław Sikorski, said on April 4.

France is prepared to send instructors to train Ukrainian military personnel, Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief General Oleksandr Syrskyi said on May 27, after a conversation with French Armed Forces Minister Sébastien Lecornu.

Syrskyi expressed hope that other countries would join the initiative.

Discussions about French instructors are ongoing, and Ukraine is currently preparing documents to expedite the process once a decision is made, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry later clarified.

The deployment of instructors to Ukraine has been under discussion since February 2024, but no decision has been finalized, the French Defense Ministry told Reuters.

Sending Western military personnel to Ukraine in the future could not be ruled out, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Feb. 26.

While most Western allies have publicly rejected this idea, the French government later explained that French troops might participate in defending certain borders, conducting training, or providing ground-based air defense.

Macron ruled out French soldiers engaging "directly on the front lines."

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