FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian soldiers during a training exercise.
© Diego Herrera Carcedo / Anadolu via Getty ImagesFILE PHOTO: Ukrainian soldiers during a training exercise.
This will not lead to an escalation between the US-led military bloc and Russia, Kaja Kallas has insisted

Military personnel from some NATO member states are already training Ukrainian soldiers inside the country, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has said. This will not lead to a direct confrontation with Russia because the personnel are doing it "at their own risk," she insisted in an interview with Financial Times on Monday.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded by urging the Estonian leader to inform the public about the less savory aspects of these missions.

"Some nations are already getting their trainers back. But they keep mum about that. I hope brave Kaja will give the details," she wrote on social media.

Kallas is one of the most outspoken supporters of Kiev's war effort against Russia, and has been critical of Western politicians who are hesitant to ramp up military aid for Ukraine.

Her claim that the deployment of NATO instructors to Ukraine would not result in a direct confrontation with Russia was based on the fact that these military personnel are not covered by the alliance's Article 5 mutual protection clause.

"I can't possibly imagine that if somebody is hurt there, then those who have sent their people will say 'It's Article 5. Let's ... bomb Russia.' It is not how it works. It's not automatic," she explained in the interview with Financial Times.

"If you send your people to help Ukrainians ... you know the country is at war and you go to a risk zone. So you take the risk," she added.

NATO has been training some Ukrainian soldiers on the territory of member states including the UK, Germany and Poland, teaching them how to use Western-donated weapons. Doing the same thing on Ukrainian soil would be quicker and simpler from a logistics point of view, according to proponents of the strategy.

Western officials have previously acknowledged the presence of some military personnel in Ukraine since the outbreak of the conflict in 2022, but did not publicly confirm that they were training local forces.

Kallas has also sided with French President Emmanual Macron, who maintains that a formal deployment of NATO troops to Ukraine cannot be ruled out to prevent a Russian victory in the conflict. He has claimed that this policy keeps Moscow guessing about the bloc's intentions.

Last year, the Ukrainian government attempted to use Western arms and training to break through Russian defensive lines, but failed to score any significant territorial gains. Its achievements in the so-called "counteroffensive" have largely been reversed since then, Western media have reported.

Now Kiev intends to mobilize hundreds of thousands of additional troops under a new law that allows for a heavy crackdown on draft avoidance and extends the pool of potential recruits to some convicts and people previously thought to be not fully fit for duty due to medical conditions.

In early May, the Russian Defense Ministry estimated that Ukrainian military losses had surpassed 111,000 this year alone.