Sunday, May 19, 2024

NATO chief says member states have military personnel in Ukraine

NATO member states have military personnel stationed at their respective embassies in Kiev performing advisory functions, the military alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has told MSNBC News.

In an interview on Sunday, Stoltenberg was asked whether NATO was planning to send additional personnel to help Kiev in its fight against Russia.

“There are no plans for any NATO combat presence in Ukraine. But, of course, several NATO allies have men and women in uniform at the embassies giving advice,” he said.

The comments came after Pentagon spokesman Major General Pat Ryder told Politico that the US is considering deploying more advisers to its embassy in Kiev. According to the outlet, the advisers could be tasked with handling logistics and helping with the maintenance of US-supplied weapons systems.

Although French President Emmanuel Macron and several other European leaders have refused to rule out placing NATO boots on the ground in Ukraine in the future, the alliance has so far maintained that it is not a direct participant in the conflict.

Stoltenberg hailed the $61 billion aid package for Kiev passed by the US House of Representatives on Saturday, but warned that “delay has had real consequences” on the battlefield.

“The Ukrainians have now for months been outgunned.”

The much-needed aid, which includes money for the purchase of weapons for Ukraine, was stuck in the House for months due to political wrangling. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has complained that dwindling American aid caused ammunition shortages on the front line, and warned that Kiev could lose if the delays continue. US President Joe Biden blamed the fall of the Donbass stronghold of Avdeevka to Russia in February on “congressional inaction”.

Moscow has warned that deliveries of Western arms and equipment to Ukraine will not stop Russia from achieving its military goals, including the abandonment of Kiev’s plans to join NATO. Further deliveries from the West only “cause more Ukrainians to die because of the Kiev regime”, and make Western states a de facto party to the conflict, the Kremlin has stated.

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