US considering training Ukrainian troops remotely
The US Defense Secretary reveals that the Biden administration is considering ways to train Ukrainian forces remotely if Russia seizes control of Ukraine.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told House lawmakers on Thursday that the Biden administration is eyeing training Ukrainian forces remotely in the event that Russia should seize control of Ukraine, officials told Axios.
Austin said that it is becoming more difficult to provide Ukraine with lethal equipment with Russian troops currently on the ground, as Russian mechanized forces were a little more than 30 km outside of Kiev.
The US Defense Secretary also stressed that the US will support Ukrainian President Zelensky's government as long as it remained "viable", which poses questions on whether the support would continue if the government falls, or if Zelensky flees the country.
As Western fears increase that Kiev would soon fall against the Russian advance, which means that the Zelensky government could be toppled, the next phase of the West's strategy will center on turning Ukraine into a security issue for Russia by creating an insurgency.
Read more: Russia does not intend to harm world order: Putin
“I had to fight an insurgency in Iraq, so I know how effective an insurgency can be,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.). “With the right spirit, right intel and right weaponry, the Ukrainians can make the Russians rethink if they want to occupy Ukraine.”
On Thursday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that the word "occupation" is inapplicable to the Russian military operation in Ukraine.
"No one is talking about occupation. The word is not applicable in this case," Peskov told reporters.
Commenting on a question regarding whether Russia will create political change in Kiev, Peskov said that the question is a matter of choice of the Ukrainian people.
"Earlier, I once again spoke about the two objectives [of the Russian operation] that were formulated by the commander-in-chief and the country's president, [Vladimir Putin]. The rest is a matter of choice of the Ukrainian people," the spokesman said.