As numerous international media reported earlier, European Union foreign ministers signed off on Monday on a military assistance mission to train 15,000 Ukrainian personnel in various member states. Croatian media reports that the key roles in the mission are those of Germany and Poland, as well as the Baltic states and Slovakia. Telegram.hr asked the Croatian Ministry of Defence whether Croatia is ready to participate in the program, and they’ve received a quite broad, but positive reply. “The Croatian army continuously conducts its own training. Within the framework of the existing training, we are ready to receive foreign participants, all in accordance with the plans and legal procedures”, their reply reads, suggesting that the Politico’s report which lists Croatia as one of the participating countries might be correct.
Well, not so fast, if you ask the President of Croatia, Zoran Milanović, and the journalists did ask him exactly that today. Index.hr reports that he told the press that he is not familiar with the idea of Ukrainian soldiers being trained in Europe, but in principle, he does not support the training of “military manpower” on Croatian soil because it would mean involving Croatia in that war more than necessary. “I don’t support that idea because I don’t support involving Croatia in this war more than it should. It’s bringing the war to Croatia. We are fair, we stand in solidarity and that’s it,” he said. If the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Croatia agrees with such an idea, Milanović tells them in advance: “Let’s not go for it”. “As the commander in chief (of the Croatian Armed Forces), I will not approve it,” he said. He praised the courage of the Ukrainian army, which is not a member of NATO, but which has been getting a lot of support from NATO and some NATO members. “They train, finance, supply” (…) “so NATO is a factor 100 percent involved in the war in Ukraine. That is a fact”. He will not say anything against it, but if it includes further Croatian involvement, he will be against it, he said.