Gen. Charles Brown, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says it is only a matter of time before NATO military trainers are sent to Ukraine, according to a report in the New York Times.

It comes as Ukraine battles to hold the line against Russian offensives in Ukraine’s northeast such as the city of Kharkiv as well as in the east and south – and just weeks after the U.S. agreed to send an extra $60 billion in aid to the war-torn country.

Ukrainian officials have asked their U.S. and NATO counterparts to help train 150,000 new recruits closer to the front line for faster deployment, the New York Times reports. 

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General Charles Brown Jr.

Gen. Charles Brown, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says it is only a matter of time before NATO military trainers are sent to Ukraine. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Brown told reporters on Thursday that a decision to deploy trainers was inching closer.

“We’ll get there eventually, over time,” he told reporters, according to the New York Times.

Manpower has long been an issue for Kyiv’s military as it fights a much larger and better-equipped foe. The problem has grown more acute in recent months, prompting authorities to introduce stricter measures for draft evaders, while the draft mobilization age has been lowered from 27 to 25, with the upper limit being 60.

The new law offers parole to convicts who sign a contract to join the army, a move that some officials have said could generate a maximum of 20,000 soldiers for the Ukrainian war effort. Those convicted of the most serious crimes, such as the premeditated murder of two or more people, rape and crimes against national security, would still not be allowed to enlist.

But the new recruits need to be trained and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is calling on the West for help.

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Zelenskyy visits Mykolaiv region

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is calling on the West for help. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

However, the move to deploy trainers could draw the U.S. and Europe more directly into Russia’s war with Ukraine. U.S. leaders have said they will not put U.S. troops on the ground in Ukraine and have urged NATO allies not to do so either.

Brown said that such a move now would put NATO trainers at risk and would most likely mean deciding whether to use precious air defenses to protect the trainers — instead of critical Ukrainian infrastructure near the battlefield, the New York Times reports. 

An attack on trainers could force the U.S. to honor its NATO obligations under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, thereby dragging it into war.

Former President Eisenhower sent U.S. advisors to train forces in South Vietnam in 1956 as he was worried about the spread of communism. The U.S. got incrementally sucked into military operations in Vietnam with former President Kennedy deploying 12,000 U.S. military advisors stationed in Vietnam by 1962.

Rep. Eli Crane, R-Ariz., tells Fox News Digital that deploying military trainers would lead to a wider war in the region.

“Play stupid games win stupid prizes. This escalation will not make one American’s life better and will drag us closer to the brink of global conflict,” Crane, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, said in a statement. 

“We should be pushing for peace talks because that is what best serves American interests.”

 It is unclear which NATO countries are considering sending military trainers and how many would need to be deployed and for how long.  

NATO logo

The NATO logo is pictured inside the new North Atlantic Council meeting room at the NATO headquarters in Brussels. (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)

Fox News Digital reached out to the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for further comment but did not immediately receive a response.

In February, French President Emmanuel Macron said he had not ruled out the possibility of European Union member states sending troops into Ukraine to stave off Russia’s invasion.  

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The latest Russian offensive began last week in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, marking the most significant border incursion since the full-scale invasion began in 2022 and forcing thousands to flee their homes. 

In recent weeks, Moscow’s forces have also sought to build on gains in the eastern region of Donetsk. Taken together, the developments mean the war has entered a critical stage for Ukraine’s depleted army.

Meanwhile, overnight, Ukraine launched its largest-ever kamikaze drone attack on Russia while Russian President Vladimir Putin visited China, killing two people and causing an oil refinery fire in the Black Sea, according to officials. 

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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