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As Russia Advances, NATO Considers Sending Trainers Into Ukraine

NATO allies are inching closer to sending troops into Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces, a move that would be another blurring of a previous red line and could draw the United States and Europe more directly into the war.

Ukraine’s manpower shortage has reached a critical point, and its position on the battlefield in recent weeks has seriously worsened as Russia has accelerated its advances to take advantage of delays in shipments of American weapons. As a result, Ukrainian officials have asked their American and NATO counterparts to help train 150,000 new recruits closer to the front line for faster deployment.

So far the United States has said no, but Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Thursday that a NATO deployment of trainers appeared inevitable. “We’ll get there eventually, over time,” he said.

For now, he said, an effort inside Ukraine would put “a bunch of NATO trainers at risk” and would most likely mean deciding whether to use precious air defenses to protect the trainers instead of critical Ukrainian infrastructure near the battlefield. General Brown briefed reporters on his plane en route to a NATO meeting in Brussels.

As a part of NATO, the United States would be obligated under the alliance’s treaty to aid in the defense of any attack on the trainers, potentially dragging America into the war.

The White House has been adamant that it will not put American troops, including trainers, on the ground in Ukraine, a position that an administration official reiterated on Thursday. The administration has also urged NATO allies not to send its troops.

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