12:59 20 May 2024

NATO's training efforts in Ukraine do not escalate war – Estonian PM

Kaja Kallas. Photo: Emmi Korhonen/Lehtikuva/via REUTERS

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas stressed the importance of NATO member states not hesitating to deploy troops to Ukraine, assuring that this would not lead the Alliance into a war with Russia.

Financial Times reports this.

Kallas says, "There are countries already training soldiers on the ground." She notes that they do so at their own risk.

At the same time, the Estonian Prime Minister emphasized that if the Russian army attacked the training personnel, it would not lead to the automatic activation of Article 5 of NATO on mutual defense.

"I can't imagine that if somebody gets hurt there, those who sent their people will say, 'This is Article 5. Let's … bomb Russia.' "If you send your people to help the Ukrainians, you know that the country is in a state of war. So you take the risk," she said.

As the FT writes, Kallas notes that helping to train Ukrainian troops on its territory, and not elsewhere in Europe, will not escalate the conflict.

"Russian propaganda talks about a war with NATO, so they don't need an excuse. No matter what we do from our side… If they want to attack, they will attack," the Prime Minister of Estonia added.

It should be noted that Madis Roll, adviser to the Estonian president on national security issues, said that the Estonian government is considering the possibility of sending troops to the west of Ukraine to take over the rear functions of Ukraine's armed forces.

Also, French President Emmanuel Macron does not rule out sending troops to Ukraine if Russia breaks through the defenses and there is a request from Kyiv.

For reference:

Earlier, French leader Emmanuel Macron announced the possibility of deploying troops into Ukraine's territory, which caused a debate among Ukraine's allies.

France later clarified that it was not planning to directly deploy troops to participate in hostilities. Several NATO countries, including Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Canada, are willing to consider this option.

However, several other NATO member countries, including the USA, Germany, Great Britain, Canada, Spain, the Czech Republic, Poland, and others, have already stated that they are not planning to deploy their troops to Ukraine.

On May 2, Macron confirmed again that he does not rule out the introduction of French ground troops into Ukraine "if the Russians break through the front line."

It is worth adding that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Gabrielus Landsbergis, noted that Western countries may send their military instructors to Ukraine for training. This could be the first step in Macron's initiative.

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