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Macron: Russia's war against Ukraine 'existential' for France, Europe

by Martin Fornusek March 14, 2024 11:43 PM 2 min read
French President Emmanuel Macron in Brussels in February 2024.
French President Emmanuel Macron talks during the press conference with the media at the end of the EU Summit in Brussels on Feb. 1, 2024. (Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
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French President Emmanuel Macron on March 14 again refused to rule out a potential presence of Western troops in Ukraine but stressed that the current situation does not call for it.

"We're not in that situation today," Macron said in a television interview with TF1 and France 2, adding that "all these options are possible."

The French president said during an allied meeting on Feb. 26 that the deployment of Western soldiers on the ground in Ukraine is not ruled out in the future. The remarks sparked a lively discussion among allies, with many NATO members, including Germany and the U.S., emphatically 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.

"If Russia wins, the life of the French would change. We would no longer have security in Europe. Who can seriously believe that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, who has respected no red lines, would stop there?" Macron said during the interview.

The president called Russia's war against Ukraine "existential" for France and Europe and warned that Moscow's potential victory would "reduce Europe's credibility to zero." He criticized the earlier strategy used by Kyiv's allies, saying it constrained itself with too many red lines.

"Two years ago, we said we would never send tanks. We did. Two years ago, we said we would never send medium-range missiles. We did," the president noted.

The allies must not be weak and show "determination, will, and courage" to prevent Russia's victory, the president noted.

Macron nevertheless stressed that France would not lead an offensive into Ukraine, saying that should the war spread further, the decision would rest solely with Russia.

Kyiv has not appealed to the West to send its troops to Ukraine, instead asking for increased arms supplies to help Ukrainian soldiers fend off Russian aggression.

Speaking with the French broadcaster BFMTV on March 11, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said that "as long as Ukraine holds, the French army can stay in French territory."

Le Monde: France examining idea of sending troops to Ukraine since June 2023
The French authorities have been examining the idea of whether to send “boots on the ground” into Ukraine since June 2023 “in the greatest secrecy,” Le Monde reported on March 14.
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