Portugal is ready to train Ukrainian soldiers but sending more military material is not on the table, defence minister Helena Carreiras said at a NATO meeting in Brussels.
Carreiras pointed to the possibility of providing training to Ukraine’s armed forces in Portugal at the end of the first session of a two-day meeting of NATO defence ministers.
“At this moment, the sending of more military material is not on the table,” Carreiras also told journalists on Wednesday, pointing to the “range of aids” that Portugal has provided.
This would be, she specified, a matter of “offering training to Ukrainian soldiers and armed forces in Portugal”, for example, to manoeuvre Leopard tanks, “equipment they have and for which they need to train their soldiers,” she said.
“We already have an assessment done of the type of training we can offer,” she said.
While acknowledging that there had as yet been “no concrete request” from the Ukrainian authorities, the minister said that there was a notion that “it is a need that will arise” for them.
“If this is the decision of Ukraine – and we always work along these lines, that is, we respond according to the needs of Ukraine – this training can be provided right away,” she said. “It is not, in fact, a post-war situation.”
At a news conference ahead of the meeting, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that alliance members would provide modern heavy weapons to Ukraine, as requested by Kyiv, but for that to happen, it is necessary to train Ukraine’s military to use them.
“We took the measure as a matter of urgency, but these efforts require time,” he said. “The transition from Soviet-era equipment to modern NATO equipment means that Ukrainians must be prepared to use them. It is a difficult and demanding transition.”
The process, he explained, involves modern “artillery, long-range systems and anti-aircraft systems” that need training and maintenance.