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French army chief: Putin needs to know West could send troops to Ukraine

by Chris York March 21, 2024 8:01 PM 2 min read
French Army Chief of the Defense Staff, General Thierry Burkhard, talks on April 15, 2022, to a group of soldiers from Cameroon, Chad, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and Central African Republic taking part in a training at the Raponda Walker Arboretum forest in Akanda, Gabon. (Photo by Steeve Jordan/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to understand that Western support for Ukraine could extend to troops on the ground, the chief of France’s Armed Forces, General Thierry Burkhard, said on March 21, as reported by AFP.

Putin “has built his operation on the idea that the West will never go into Ukraine but will simply supply arms,” Burkhard said.

"We have to show him that he will not be able to use this logic to go all the way, because this idea is not right," he added.

"The war in Ukraine concerns us because we are involved in its consequences. Europeans must therefore be capable of taking risks to ensure the security of Europe in the decade to come."

Burkhard’s comments come after French President Emmanuel Macron said in February that deploying Western troops to Ukraine was not ruled out, marking a significant shift in his country’s stance on the war.

He again refused to rule out the possibility in a March 14 interview, though said today's situation does not call for it.

The remarks sparked a lively discussion among allies, with many NATO members, including Germany and the U.S., rejecting the possibility.

Other countries, such as Estonia or Czechia, said that the deployment of troops, for example for non-combat tasks, should not be completely ruled out.

“The president's (Macron’s) intention is to make Vladimir Putin understand that we are aware of what is at stake in Ukraine,” Burkhard said.

In an interview published on March 16, Macron promised to come to Kyiv and bring "specific solutions" for the war though he did not give a timeline for a visit.

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