French military instructors to visit Ukrainian training centres soon, Ukraine commander says

FILE PHOTO: Ukraine's President Zelenskiy attends a meeting with newly appointed top military commanders in Kyiv

KYIV (Reuters) -Ukraine's top commander said on Monday he had signed paperwork allowing French military instructors to visit Ukrainian training centres soon.

"I am pleased to welcome France's initiative to send instructors to Ukraine to train Ukrainian servicemen," Oleksandr Syrskyi said on the Telegram messaging app after talks via video link with French defence minister Sebastien Lecornu.

"I have already signed the documents that will enable the first French instructors to visit our training centres shortly and familiarize themselves with their infrastructure and personnel," Syrskyi said.

Syrskyi gave no further details but said he believed that France's determination would encourage other partners to join this "ambitious project."

Ukraine's Defence Ministry in a "clarification" issued later on X said Kyiv had been expressing interest in a project receiving foreign instructors since February.

"As of now, we are still in discussions with France and other countries on this issue," it said.

French President Emmanuel Macron has opened the door to sending troops to Ukraine and at a conference in Paris on Feb. 26 suggested that one area Western troops could help with would be to train Ukrainians in Ukraine.

France's Defence Ministry said in a statement to Reuters: "As already mentioned several times, training on Ukrainian soil is one of the projects discussed since the conference on support for Ukraine convened by the President of the Republic on February 26.

"Like all the projects discussed at that time, this track continues to be the subject of work with the Ukrainians, in particular to understand their exact needs."

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk in Kyiv and John Irish in Paris; Editing by William Maclean, Nick Macfie, Ron Popeski and Mark Porter)