US has no plan to send military trainers into Ukraine, top general says

U.S. General Charles Q. Brown Junior and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin address the media at Ramstein
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By Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. is not planning to send military trainers into Ukraine and would likely do so only when the war there with Russia is over, the top U.S. general said on Monday, after France opened the door to sending troops to train Kyiv's forces.

More than two years into the war, Russian are slowly advancing in eastern Ukraine, exploiting Ukrainian shortages of manpower and months of delays in arms supplies from the West.

That has raised questions about what more the United States and its allies can do, beyond funneling billions of dollars in weaponry and providing intelligence and training to Ukrainian military forces from outside of the country.

"Right now, there are no plans to bring U.S. trainers into Ukraine," General Charles Q. Brown, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters.

"Once this conflict is over and we're in a better place, then I would suspect we would be able to bring trainers back in," Brown added.

The United States had about 150 military trainers inside Ukraine until Russia invaded the country in February 2022.

French President Emmanuel Macron in February opened the door to European nations sending troops to Ukraine.

Since then, other European leaders have publicly opposed the idea and Macron's foreign minister sought to clarify the comments, saying that Paris could send troops to Ukraine for specific needs, but not to fight in the war against Russia.

French diplomats said Macron's idea was to stoke debate on the issue, but there were no concrete plans in that direction.

Brown spoke alongside U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin after a meeting of Ukraine's military backers. Both he and Austin stressed the need to support Kyiv as it faces growing pressure from Russian forces in Kharkiv.

The Pentagon dismissed a suggestion from former top State Department official Victoria Nuland to ABC News that President Joe Biden should drop his prohibition on Ukraine using U.S. weaponry to strike targets inside Russia, which the White House has feared could lead to a direct conflict with Moscow.

Brown said that he believed Ukraine had not used U.S.-supplied Army Tactical Missile Systems inside Russian territory.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)