Poland plans to send military instructors to assist the Ukrainian military, according to Reuters. Poland would be the second foreign nation to send advisors to train Ukrainian soldiers. British Prime Minister David Cameron announced Tuesday his country would send 30 trainers this week to begin training Ukrainian personnel in medical, logistics and intelligence fields, with another 45 to join them in coming months.
“The defense ministry intends to send Polish instructors to support the training of Ukrainian non-commissioned officers,” said Boguslaw Pacek, an advisor to the Polish Defense Ministry, on Tuesday. He added that between a dozen and several dozen advisors will be involved in the mission and that a final decision will be made on the exact number in March.
Neither the Polish nor British missions will involve sending lethal aid to Ukraine, which Russia has repeatedly said it would take as a direct provocation and hinted that it could prompt it to openly become involved in the conflict. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov plans to meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday to discuss the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine, Syria and Iraq, according to Sputnik News. Lavrov criticized the West for trying to “dominate global affairs” at a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council, according to Reuters. His country was in turn lambasted for allegedly supporting Ukrainian rebels with weapons, money and manpower.
Polish politicians are some of the most critical of Russia in all of Europe. Poland was a communist satellite state from 1945 until 1989, during which it suffered harshly under a Communist dictatorship propped up by Moscow. Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary joined NATO in 1999, becoming the first three former Communist states to join the bloc, which was founded as a deterrent alliance to Russia.
Poland’s Parliament speaker Radek Sikorski strongly condemned alleged Russian involvement in Ukraine Tuesday, saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin has “lost” Ukraine and inadvertently boosted Ukrainian nationalism with his aggressive actions.