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Russia Ukraine conflict

US considering using forces near NATO’s eastern flank to train Ukrainian troops

A senior US defense official said that Russia was staging helicopters, artillery systems, and more troops in preparation for a renewed offensive in the Donbas.

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The US is considering using American troops stationed on NATO’s eastern flank to train Ukrainian troops remotely, a senior US defense official said Wednesday.

“We have bolstered our presence on the eastern flank quite a bit and now have more than 100,000 troops permanently based in Europe or on rotational orders,” the official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Not all of them, of course, are on the eastern flank, but we have absolutely added to our ability in these eastern flank countries.”

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The official was responding to a question about whether the US had personnel in NATO countries such as Poland that could train Ukrainians on weapons systems they receive that they might not be familiar with.

Earlier this month, Ukrainian troops were in the US to receive previously scheduled training on Switchblade drones provided by Washington.

The US official said they were looking at options for additional training on the use of Switchblades. “And certainly, one option that would be available to us would be to utilize troops that are closer to Ukraine, obviously, troops that are on NATO’s eastern flank. That still remains an open option to us,” the official said.

The Russian war on Ukraine entered its 49th day on Wednesday. And despite Russian forces pulling back from the capital of Kyiv, they are now regrouping for a renewed offensive in the Donbas, the US official said.

“They are trying to move from the north to the south and southeast into the Donbas,” the official said, adding that Russia was staging helicopters, artillery systems and more troops.

Asked about the urgency and speed of weapons deliveries from the US to Ukraine, the official said: “Time is of the essence, and I would remind that we have been pushing things to them [Ukraine] at unprecedented speeds.”

Read more: US unable to confirm Russia’s use of chemical weapons in Ukraine: Pentagon

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