Gen. Oleksandr Syrsky Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said Monday that the first French military instructors would soon arrive in the country to prepare for training Ukrainian troops.

“I have already signed the documents that will allow the first French instructors to visit our training centers soon and get acquainted with their infrastructure and personnel,” Syrsky said on social media.

“Together with the Minister of Defense Rustem Umerov we held a video meeting with the Minister of the Armed Forces of the French Republic Sebastian Lecornu,” he said.

Later on Monday, Ukraine walked back the announcement, according to AFP, saying that it was still in talks with Paris and other allies on the issue. 


Kyiv’s defense ministry clarified the announcement: “As of now, we are still in discussions with France and other countries on this,” 

It added that it had “begun internal work on the relevant documents on this issue in order not to waste time on coordinating bureaucratic issues when the relevant decision is made.” 

Previously, Ukrainian soldiers traveled outside Ukraine to receive training from their NATO partners.

Contacted by AFP, France’s defense ministry said the issue was being studied but did not confirm the deployment of instructors.

“Training on Ukrainian soil is one of the projects discussed since the conference on support for Ukraine convened by (French President Emmanuel Macron) on February 26,” it said.  

“Like all projects discussed on this occasion, this continues to be the subject of work with the Ukrainians, in particular to understand their exact needs,” it added. 

While French, British and American special forces trainers have long been assumed to be in Ukraine already, this is the first public acknowledgement of trainers planning to stay for prolonged periods.

French President Emmanuel Macron has recently been advocating for a tougher stance against Moscow.


Russia for its part has threatened to strike French troops if they came to Ukrainian territory.

“If the French appear in the conflict zone, they will inevitably become a target for the Russian armed forces,” Kremlin Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

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