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US set to send additional military personnel to Kiev

This image shows a view of the US embassy building in Kiev, Ukraine. (File photo)

The United States is considering deploying more military personnel to Ukraine as Russia appears to be gaining momentum on the front lines.

The US military announced on Saturday that dozens of military advisors might be deployed to Ukraine for logistical oversight and maintenance of the weapons and ammunition delivered to the forces fighting against Russia. The additional advisors will be based at the US embassy in Kiev.

The US House of Representatives passed a much-delayed foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and other allies on Friday, providing $60.84 billion to assist Ukraine alone.

Now, the Senate will begin considering the aid package for a vote on Tuesday. 

A limited number of military personnel had already been deployed in short rotations attached to the embassy in Kiev, according to two US officials Politico interviewed. The second official described the numbers of personnel as "onesies and twosies."

The number of additional US troops set to be deployed in Ukraine is unclear; however, the two US officials said the number would be up to 60.

These advisers would not serve in combat capacities but instead provide guidance and assistance to the Ukrainian government and military, according to Pentagon spokesperson Pat Ryder.

"Throughout this conflict, the DOD has reviewed and adjusted our presence in-country as security conditions have evolved. Currently, we are considering sending several additional advisers to augment the Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) at the Embassy," Ryder said in a statement to Politico, adding that "personnel are subject to the same travel restrictions as all embassy employees."

Ryder refrained from disclosing specific personnel numbers "for operational security and force protection reasons."

According to four US officials and an individual familiar with the plans, who spoke anonymously due to the sensitivity of the matter, the additional troops will primarily support logistics and oversight efforts for the weapons being sent to Ukraine.

Additionally, they will assist the Ukrainian military with weapons maintenance, as outlined by one of the US officials and the individual familiar with the plans.

Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed the notion of possibly sending troops from other European countries to Ukraine.

During a pro-Kiev gathering in Paris in late February, Macron said NATO members “cannot exclude anything,” including having boots on the ground in Ukraine.

Macron pointed out that more troops were needed to be deployed to Ukraine to make efforts to prevent the imminent Russian victory.

Meanwhile, Russian troops have gained momentum on the battlefields in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has already admitted that his country will lose the ongoing war against Russia without US support.

Zelensky warned last week that Russian troops continued to mount pressure on Kiev forces. He also reiterated his constant request from his Western allies for additional arms and munitions, claiming Kiev forces could overpower Russian troops if they had a larger number of military personnel, armed with the latest weapons, on their side.

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