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U.S. Eyes Training Ukrainian Troops Remotely

Western officials fear Kyiv could soon fall into Russian hands despite Ukraine’s resilient fight.
Ukrainians seek shelter in a Kyiv subway station on Thursday. Photo: Viacheslav Ratynsky/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Ukrainians seek shelter in a Kyiv subway station on Thursday. Photo: Viacheslav Ratynsky/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told House lawmakers Thursday the Biden administration is considering ways to train Ukrainian forces remotely if the Russians seize control of Ukraine, officials on the call told Axios.

Why it matters: With the capital of Kyiv in danger of falling after Russia’s invasion, the Pentagon is contemplating the next phase of the conflict.

  • Austin told members of the House that military officials are looking at ways to provide more defense equipment — including ammunition — to Ukrainian forces, but it’s more difficult now with Russian troops swarming the country.
  • Russian mechanized forces, which came in from Belarus, were 20 miles outside of Kyiv, he said.
  • Austin also emphasized the Biden administration would support President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government as long as it remained “viable,” raising questions about continued U.S. assistance if the president flees the country, is captured or is killed in combat.
  • A Defense Department spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the contents of the private call.

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