France could announce sending military trainers to Ukraine soon, diplomats say

France could announce sending military trainers to Ukraine soon, diplomats say
# 30 May 2024 15:10 (UTC +04:00)

France could soon send military trainers to Ukraine despite the concerns of some allies and criticism by Russia, and may announce its decision next week during a visit by the Ukrainian president, three diplomatic sources said, APA reports citing Reuters.

The diplomats said Paris hoped to forge and lead a coalition of countries offering such assistance to Kyiv's war effort even though some of its European Union partners fear it could make a direct conflict with Russia more likely.

France would initially send a limited number of personnel to assess the modalities of a mission before dispatching several hundred trainers, two of the diplomats said.

Training would centre around demining, keeping equipment operational and technical expertise for warplanes to be provided by the West, they said. Paris would also finance, arm, and train a Ukrainian motorised brigade.

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

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is due in France on June 6, the 80th anniversary of D-day, when Allied soldiers landed in Normandy to drive out Nazi German forces during World War Two. He will hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris the next day.

Ukraine's top commander said on Monday he had signed paperwork allowing French military instructors to visit Ukrainian training centres soon.

Ukraine's Defence Ministry, in a "clarification", said Kyiv had been expressing interest in a project involving receiving foreign instructors since February.

Russian President Vladimir Putin portrayed the presence of regular French military in Ukraine as a step towards global conflict.

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