Estonia Says NATO Countries Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Sending Troops to Ukraine for Training

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas acknowledged there is already a small number of NATO troops on the ground in Ukraine

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has downplayed the risks associated with NATO sending troops to Ukraine for training and acknowledged that some NATO soldiers are already there.

Kallas said that if Russia attacked NATO trainers, it wouldn’t automatically trigger Article 5, which outlines the alliance’s mutual defense commitments.

“I can’t possibly imagine that if somebody is hurt there, then those who have sent their people will say ‘it’s Article 5. Let’s … bomb Russia.’ It is not how it works. It’s not automatic. So these fears are not well-founded,” Kallas said, according to Ukrainska Pravda.

She said that “there are countries who are training soldiers on the ground already” and are doing so at their own risk.

Since the early days of the war, it’s been an open secret that a small number of NATO special operations forces are inside Ukraine. The Discord Leaks revealed that as of March 2023, there were 97 NATO special operations soldiers in the country.

All the way back in April 2022, The Times of London reported that British Special Air Service soldiers were training Ukrainian soldiers on anti-tank weapons outside of Kyiv. This year, a German military leak revealed British soldiers are “on the ground” in Ukraine helping fire the long-range Storm Shadow missiles.

But what NATO countries have been discussing recently regarding sending troops to Ukraine would be a larger, public deployment. The New York Times reported last week that Ukraine has asked NATO to send troops to train 150,000 fresh recruits they’re hoping to mobilize.

The US has said it has “no plans” to send a training force to Ukraine, but Estonia, Lithuania, and France have all expressed interest in deploying troops. Despite Kallas’ comments, such a deployment would mark a huge escalation in NATO involvement in the war and would significantly increase the chances of a direct clash between the alliance and Russia, which could quickly turn nuclear.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.