White House Clarifies Joe Biden’s Claim U.S. Troops Training Ukrainians in Poland

US President Joe Biden delivers a speech during a visit to service members from the 82nd Airborne Division, who are contributing alongside Polish Allies to deterrence on the Alliances Eastern Flank, in the city of Rzeszow in southeastern Poland, around 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the border with Ukraine, on …
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Monday attempted to clarify what President Joe Biden said to reporters about Americans training Ukrainian troops in Poland.

During a question and answer session with members of the media at the White House, Biden responded to a question concerning his remark last week about what U.S. service members would see in Ukraine, “when you’re there.”

“You’re going to see, when you’re there, and some of you have been there, you’re going to see women, young people, standing in front of a damn tank…” he said.

But when asked Monday to explain what he meant, Biden said he was only talking with American troops about training the Ukrainians in Poland.

“I was talking to the troops. We are talking about helping train the troops in – that are in – the Ukrainian troops that are in Poland,” Biden said. “That’s what the context [was].”

“I was referring to being with and talking with the Ukrainian troops that are in Poland,” he added later in his remarks.

But the White House had to walk that back, after Politico reported on the exchange.

“There are Ukrainian soldiers in Poland interacting on a regular basis with U.S. troops, and that’s what the President was referring to,” a White House official said, clarifying Biden’s remarks.

If the United States is actually training the Ukrainian people, it would be a major development for the United States in the ongoing conflict between Poland and Russia.

Biden has repeatedly discussed American troops being deployed to Poland, but only to bolster NATO defenses, not to take an active role in Ukraine’s defense against Russia.

In December, Politico reported that Biden turned down a plan from the United States military to send in special operations personnel to Ukraine to advise and train the Ukrainians.

The Biden team nixed the idea over concerns of escalating tensions with Russia.

The idea of American troops in Ukraine is not uncommon.

In February, before Russia escalated its war, the Pentagon announced its decision to withdraw 160 members of the Florida National Guard who were in Ukraine training their military.

 

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