22:59 GMT21 February 2020
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    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that existence of foreign military instructors in Ukraine does not help in easing tensions in the country’s east.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) The existence of foreign military instructors in Ukraine does not help in easing tensions or settling the conflict in the country’s east, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.

    “Obviously, this is not helping in the building of trust or in easing the tensions in the conflict. It can be simply said that this is not aiding in the settlement, that’s a fact,” Peskov said.

    The United States, Great Britain, and Poland have all earlier announced their plans of sending instructors to Ukraine to train military personnel, as well as other support for Ukraine’s Armed Forces.

    The announcements come amid the implementation of a welcome February peace plan negotiated by the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine in Minsk, Belarus. The deal includes the February 15 ceasefire, a pullout of heavy weaponry from the line of contact, an all-for-all prisoner swap and the withdrawal of all foreign troops and mercenaries from Ukraine.

    On Tuesday, reports emerged suggesting that US Army Europe Commander Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges had announced that the training of three battalions of the Ukrainian army by US instructors had been delayed "to give more time for Minsk agreement implementation."

    However, according to a Thursday statement on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's website, US Vice President Joe Biden told him by phone that the United States would begin training 780 Ukrainian National Guard soldiers "as soon as possible."


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