Croatian parliament rejects motion to train Ukrainian soldiers as part of EU mission

The Croatian government rejected a motion brought forward by the ruling government to train Ukrainian soldiers as part of a European Union initiative. The Croatian government showed its support towards the EU programme to train 15,000 soldiers from Ukraine but it has created a split in the country. President Zoran Milanovic expressed his displeasure at the government’s stance and said that a move like this will “involve Croatia in the war more than is necessary”, according to AFP. 

“It would mean bringing the war into Croatia,” Milanovic, the commander-in-chief of the army, said. 

The government needed a two-thirds majority in the parliament in order to ensure the passage of the motion but with just 97 MPs backing the proposal, they failed to go forward with it. Ahead of the vote, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic accused the president of having “pro-Russian views”. 

“The decision on whether some 100 Ukrainian soldiers would be trained in Croatia is a choice between Ukraine and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s regime”, Plenkovic said ahead of the vote. 

The vote was also indicative of the public sentiment in Croatia as a recent poll showed that more than 60 per cent of the population was not in favour of training the Ukrainian soldiers. Croatia is currently a NATO member but the country has always tried to adopt a centrist position on most global issues. 

While Croatia has followed the lead of NATO to sanction and criticise the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the general sentiment among the citizens of the country remains in favour of adopting a somewhat distant position. 

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