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Estonia proposes increasing number of Ukrainian military training in EU to 100,000

Estonia proposes increasing number of Ukrainian military training in EU to 100,000 Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur (Getty Images)

The number of Ukrainian military trained as part of the EU Military Assistance Mission (EUMAM) should be increased to 100,000, says Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur.

He recalled that the EU had promised to increase training in EUMAM from 40 to 60 thousand. But he is confident it is not enough considering Russia's increasing pressure.

According to the minister, it is necessary to "move towards the number of 100 thousand Ukrainian servicemen".

Pevkur also says that the EU's task is not to negotiate and discuss what Putin wants, but to help Ukraine and provide everything it needs to win. According to him, the partners should allow the Ukrainian Armed Forces to use Western weapons, including for strikes on Russian territory.

"Ukraine has its own drones that hit targets deep behind enemy lines, more than a thousand kilometers from the front line. Of course, I sincerely hope that all the countries that assist will give their permission. It is not normal that Russia strikes Ukraine from a long distance, while Ukrainians are forced to fight with one hand tied behind their backs," he said.

According to the Estonian minister, Russia is using every opportunity to call any arms supplies to Ukraine an escalation. "There was a time when everyone said that sending tanks was an escalation. It turned out that it was not. The transfer of Storm Shadow or Scalp, the transfer of F-16s is an escalation, but it is not. Russia, of course, is using every opportunity to call new arms transfers an escalation. But it is not. It helps Ukraine fight for its country and its people," Pevkur said.

On May 28, EU defense ministers will meet in Brussels to discuss the EU's support for Ukraine and summarize ongoing military initiatives.

About 40,000 Ukrainian troops have already been trained in Europe as part of the EUMAM mission. In January, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that the number should be increased to 60,000.