Lithuania’s Prime Minister, Ingrida Šimonytė, has stated that her country is prepared to send its soldiers to Ukraine on a training mission, according to a May 8 Financial Times (FT) report.

Šimonytė mentioned that she had received parliamentary approval to send troops to Ukraine for training purposes, a proposal previously considered by her government. However, she said that Kyiv had not yet requested such assistance.

Understanding that the Kremlin might consider the decision to be a provocation, Šimonytė said “If we just thought about the Russian response, then we could not send anything,” highlighting its frequent threats of the use of nuclear weapons, saying, “Every second week you hear that somebody will be nuked.”

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On Monday, May 6 Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the country’s military to conduct nuclear weapons exercises involving the navy and troops stationed near Ukraine.

This follows Putin’s increasing nuclear rhetoric since the start of the war in Ukraine. In February, during a national address, he warned of a “real” risk of nuclear war.

The Kremlin spokesperson said that the exercises were in response to statements made by French President Emmanuel Macron and the UK Foreign Secretary, David Cameron.

Recently, Russia criticized Macron for suggesting in The Economist magazine that he was “not ruling anything out” in the West’s response to the war in Ukraine, including sending troops to the country.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described Macron’s statements about the potential deployment of troops to Ukraine as an unprecedented round of tension in Ukraine, necessitating Russia's response.

Moscow also condemned Cameron’s statement that Kyiv had the right to strike targets inside Russia using weapons provided by the UK.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that reinforcements from Western military personnel could help Ukraine resist Russian forces in the future.

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When asked about the potential deployment of additional troops from NATO countries, an idea suggested by Macron, Shmyhal welcomed the notion, saying, “If the time comes, we will be absolutely grateful, and we will be happy.”

However, Shmyhal disclosed that, for now, Ukraine primarily requires more military equipment from its partners rather than boots on the ground.

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