Top commander in Europe: US not ‘currently training’ Ukrainian forces in Poland
The head of U.S. European Command said Tuesday that the U.S. is not “currently” training Ukrainian forces in Poland, a day after President Biden appeared to imply that Washington was doing so.
“I do not believe that we are in the process of currently training military forces from Ukraine in Poland,” Gen. Tod Wolters, who is also NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
During a trip to Poland on Friday, Biden appeared to suggest that American troops would be in Ukraine when he told troops there that “you’re going to see when you’re there,” referring to how the average Ukrainian citizen was fighting for their country amid Russia’s invasion.
“You’re going to see women, young people standing — standing the middle of — in front of a damn tank, just saying, ‘I’m not leaving. I’m holding my ground,’” Biden said. “They’re incredible. But they take a lot of inspiration from us.”
On Monday, Biden was asked about implying that American forces would be in Ukraine, the president said, “you interpret the language that way,” adding that he was talking about “helping train the troops — the Ukrainian troops that are in Poland.”
He followed up by saying that he was referring to “being with and talking with the Ukrainian troops who are in Poland.”
“There are liaisons that are there that are being given advice,” Wolters told Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), without elaborating further. “And that’s different than [what] I think you’re referring to with respect training.”
The U.S. has 10,500 troops in Poland as part of the 100,000 total that it has stationed across Europe, national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters.
Biden has ordered thousands of troops to Eastern Europe to assure NATO allies as Russia continued its aggressions against Ukraine, but repeatedly said that no American forces would be fighting Russian troops.
This isn’t the first time the subject of remotely training Ukrainian forces has come up as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its second month. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reportedly told lawmakers last month that the Pentagon had been mulling ways to train Ukrainian forces remotely.