Emmanuel Macron does not rule out sending Western troops to Ukraine

“Macron calls for a ‘start’ and toughens his tone against Russia,” headlines L’Express. Monday February 26 closed the international conference organized by France in support of Ukraine, two years after the start of the war.

Emmanuel Macron “reaffirmed Paris’s commitment to Ukraine”, explaining that “the defeat of Russia [was] essential to security and stability in Europe” [Le Figaro]. If the Head of State does not exclude the sending of Western troops to Ukraine, the latter recognizes that there is “no consensus today to officially, assumedly and endorsed send ground troops ”, reports the Huffington Post. Before adding that in “dynamics, nothing should be excluded. We will do whatever it takes to ensure that Russia cannot win this war.”

Declaring that sending ground troops is not excluded is “extremely rare”, comments geopolitics specialist Peer de Jong, for France info. It is “a shocking sentence” and “a message clearly addressed to the Russians”, adds the former colonel. “Questioned at the end of the meeting at the Elysée, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte assured him that this question […] had not been on the agenda,” notes Le Figaro. However, Politico explains that “the subject was raised publicly for the first time by Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, before the summit, who declared that a confidential document suggested that a certain number of NATO countries and of the EU were considering sending troops to Ukraine on a bilateral basis”. The head of the Slovak government then warned “against a ‘dangerous escalation of tensions’ with Russia”, recalls Der Spiegel.

Alongside his statement on the potential sending of troops, “the French head of state also announced that Ukraine’s allies would create a coalition to deliver medium and long-range missiles to Ukraine” [ Le Figaro]. Even though Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky deplored during the day “having ‘unfortunately’ received only 30% of the ‘million shells that the European Union’ had ‘promised’ to his country”, reports Le Monde. Emmanuel Macron therefore “listed ‘five categories of action’ with consensus: cyber-defensive; the co-production of arms, military capabilities and munitions in Ukraine; the defense of countries directly threatened by the offensive in Ukraine, such as Moldova; the ‘ability to support Ukraine on its border with Belarus with non-military forces’ and mine clearance operations.”

Furthermore, “Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said he received ‘great support’ from European partners during negotiations in Paris for his proposal to supply Kiev with shells from outside the EU ”, indicates Politico. On this subject, the French president announced that “Paris would take part in this initiative”, after having campaigned for a long time for military orders to be placed with EU companies [Politico].

The Kyiv Independent also notes that “the summit took place in a context of uncertainty in the face of the blockage of US aid to Ukraine and Russia’s attempts to advance in several sectors of the east. and the south of the country after the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces to Avdiivka in Donetsk oblast”. This Tuesday, “President Joe Biden will receive the four main leaders of Congress as the White House increases pressure on lawmakers to pass additional funds for Ukraine,” reports CNN. In the United States, a legislative package contains “$60 billion” in support for kyiv [CNN]. Europeans are also looking towards Washington. Like Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski, who this Monday urged “the speaker of the American House of Representatives to put military aid to Ukraine to a vote.”

In France, the left is on the rise

Reacting to Emmanuel Macron’s comments, “the leader of France Insoumise Jean-Luc Mélenchon estimated on the night of Monday to Tuesday that ‘war against Russia would be madness’”, reports Le Figaro. “The national coordinator of LFI Manuel Bompard also strongly criticized the announcements of the Head of State, believing that considering sending French troops to fight against Russia is total madness,” specifies the daily.

The first secretary of the Socialist Party Olivier Faure denounced “a ‘worrying presidential lightness’” on X (formerly Twitter), adding “support the Ukrainian resistance yes.

From now on, the countries present at the conference must “meet around the French Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs to ‘operationally decline’ these initiatives”, indicates Le Monde. “In ten days, we will have a clear answer with a serious agenda,” promised Emmanuel Macron [Le Parisien], adding that “Ukraine’s allies [are] ‘not at war with the Russian people’, but that “they simply don’t want to let them win in Ukraine,” reports 20 Minutes.

This article is originally published on touteleurope.eu

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