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Latvia’s Leader Backs NATO Troop Training Mission in Ukraine

(Bloomberg) -- Latvia Prime Minister Evika Silina said she supports the idea of sending NATO troops to Ukraine to train the country’s soldiers, after French President Emmanuel Macron signaled he was open to such a move.

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Silina said in an interview that she would like NATO to get to a point where “we do some training there,” although she stressed that the presence of troops from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization inside the country would require consensus among the alliance’s partners.

“If this proposal will be elaborated and expanded, maybe we will decide to do some training inside,” Silina said. “We have to analyze how the situation looks from the perspective of NATO, not just from Latvia.”

Macron touched off a furor among some European allies last month when he signaled he was open to the idea of sending troops to Ukraine. Germany and the UK have since said publicly they won’t do so.

Read More: Macron’s Ambiguity on Ukraine Backfires as Allies Balk at Troops

Silina said a failure to support Ukraine and a Russian victory in the conflict would have a global impact, including on the US.

“If Russia wins, those consequences will affect all the world, also Washington – also the United States – not just Europe,” Silina said earlier in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

Ukraine’s military is being squeezed by a standoff in Congress, with House Republicans blocking President Joe Biden’s efforts to obtain more than $60 billion of additional funding. At the same time, Russian forces have been advancing again on the battlefield and last month captured the eastern city of Avdiivka, their biggest gain in almost a year.

Silina said she will leave Washington more optimistic about the prospects for further US funding for Ukraine after both Republican and Democratic members of Congress told her the proposals are likely for the funding to make it to a vote in the House. She declined to elaborate.

“I’m more optimistic because I spoke to some congresspeople who says I have found some procedural way, how they can get to the result, and to find some compromise,” she said.

Silina said she supports the use of Russia’s frozen assets to support Ukraine, as well as the use of Eurobonds to get more weapons to Ukraine.

Read More: EU May Need €100 Billion in Bonds to Defend Europe, Estonia Says

Latvia, alongside Baltic neighbors Lithuania and Estonia, has been among the most vocal critics of Russia’s two-year invasion of Ukraine, lobbying for ever-tougher sanctions against Moscow and weapons deliveries for Kyiv. The three nations, which were forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union during World War II, are now members of the European Union and NATO.

--With assistance from Joe Mathieu, Kailey Leinz and Jennifer Jacobs.

(Updates with prime minister voicing support for troops in Ukraine.)

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