Poland will host training of Ukrainian troops: Government

AFP , Friday 6 Mar 2015

Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz addresses a news conference at the Chancellery in Warsaw, February 19, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

NATO member Poland will train Ukrainian military instructors as it has better facilities than those of its non-allied eastern neighbour, a Polish government spokesperson said Friday.

The announcement came on the heels of a meeting Friday in Warsaw between Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz and Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council chief Oleksandr Turchynov.

"Our bases and training facilities are better prepared and this is why they (the Ukrainian military instructors) will be trained in Poland," government spokeswoman Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska was quoted as saying by Polish commercial broadcaster TVN24.

Warsaw had said last week it would likely send a small contingent of troops to Ukraine to help train Kiev's military officers, echoing a similar deployment from Britain.

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that his country will send up to 75 soldiers to Ukraine on a "training mission" of about six months.

Cameron said they would not be sent to the conflict zone.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini was upbeat on Friday about the sputtering so-called Minsk II ceasefire between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces in the eastern regions of Ukraine bordering Russia.

"For sure the trend is a positive one, even if not perfect," she said in the Latvian capital Riga.

Both Ukrainian government forces and rebels claim to be withdrawing heavy weapons as called for in the truce.

But international monitors say they need greater access to their weapons inventories in order to verify the pullback.

Russian officials on Thursday dismissed claims by the United States and NATO that Moscow has sent "thousands" of troops to fight alongside pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

NATO deputy secretary-general Alexander Vershbow, speaking at a conference in the Latvian capital Riga on Thursday, said: "Russian leaders are less and less able to conceal the fact that Russian soldiers are fighting and dying in large numbers in Eastern Ukraine."

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