Kyiv Claims France is Sending Soldiers to Ukraine


The Ukrainian government lauded France’s “determination” for sending military advisors to the country, expressing hope that Paris’s initiative would prompt other Western allies to deploy troops as well.

Ukraine’s new Commander in Chief General Oleksandr Syrskyi and the nation’s Defence Minister Rustem Umerov held discussions with their French counterpart Defence Minister Sebastien Lecorne, they announced on Sunday, emphasizing their gratitude towards the French troops and requesting additional equipment and ammunition from France.

Syrskyi expressed his appreciation for “France’s initiative to send instructors to Ukraine to train Ukrainian military personnel,” revealing that he had “already signed the documents that will allow the first French instructors” to arrive. The initial group of French troops will visit Ukrainian training facilities for familiarization, he mentioned.

The timing remains unclear, partly due to a subsequent statement from Ukraine’s Defence Ministry offering a slight clarification: “Starting from February 2024, Ukraine expressed interest in the prospect of receiving foreign instructors in Ukraine. As of now, we are still in discussions with France and other countries on this issue.”

Indeed, Defence Minister Umerov, speaking of his discussions, urged France to send the instructors promptly, implying that no definitive timeline had yet been established.

Regarding the appeal for more weapons from France, Umerov stated, “Strengthening our combat units is essential to repel current attacks and deter potential offensives.”

France’s Defence Ministry confirmed that the initiative was under consideration, although they did not commit to immediate action. Reuters reported them as having stated: “As already mentioned several times, training on Ukrainian soil is one of the projects discussed since the conference on support for Ukraine convened by the President of the Republic on February 26.”

“Like all the projects discussed at that time, this track continues to be the subject of work with the Ukrainians, in particular to understand their exact needs.”

A guiding principle of Western military assistance has been to offer support without escalating the conflict, leading some countries to initially restrict their contributions to non-lethal aid like ration packs and helmets, but not weapons. This position has gradually evolved, with governments now providing advanced missiles, main battle tanks, and even jet fighters to Ukraine, all of which were previously seen as ‘red lines.’

As reported in February, Macron stated that sending soldiers to Ukraine “could not be ruled out” and emphasized, “we must do whatever we can to obtain our objective.” This declaration came in response to Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico’s claim that NATO leaders were privately discussing such plans and that he had seen a “restricted” NATO document which “sends shivers down your spine.”

Fico has since been targeted in an apparent assassination attempt by a gunman who claimed Fico’s pro-Ukraine military assistance stance compelled him to act.

France’s Macron faced significant criticism from other NATO leaders for publicly expressing his views on sending troops to Ukraine, yet despite the controversy, he has reiterated this position numerous times. Earlier this month, Macron declared he would not “rule anything out,” asserting that “If Russia wins in Ukraine, there will be no security in Europe.”

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