Comments by Emmanuel Macron on sending troops to Ukraine: French details and European reactions

After the declarations of French President Emmanuel Macron on a potential sending of Western troops to Ukraine, the first European reactions did not take long.

Ukraine's allied countries said they had no plans to send troops.

A White House official said there were no plans to send NATO troops to fight Russian forces.

French President Emmanuel Macron, at the Élysée, with 20 European heads of state and government in Paris, February 26, 2024. AP - Gonzalo Fuentes

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Sending Western troops on the ground in Ukraine has until now been an absolute taboo, with NATO member countries keen to avoid escalation with a nuclear-armed Russia.

This Tuesday, February 27, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Séjourné, spoke, in the National Assembly, of new support measures for Ukraine which would require the presence of troops on site “

without crossing the threshold of belligerence

”. thus supporting Emmanuel Macron's comments from the day before.

The Élysée also announced that the Head of State had asked the government to make a statement before Parliament " 

relating to the bilateral security agreement concluded with Ukraine

 " on February 16, followed by a debate and 'a vote.

The date of the debate has not been specified.

Emmanuel Macron wants to “ 

raise the stakes and the role of France to have a seat at the table in redefining the balance of European security

 ”, estimates a diplomat from another allied country interviewed by AFP.

Rain of European reactions

European officials had already rushed to react, reluctant to officially send soldiers sent by European states.


An official from the Atlantic Alliance

 : “ 

NATO and the Allies are providing unprecedented military aid to Ukraine.

We have been doing this since 2014 and shifted into high gear after the full-scale Russian invasion.

But there are no plans for NATO combat troops on the ground in Ukraine

 ,” the official told AFP.

- Olaf Scholz, German Chancellor, at a press conference in Freiburg im Breisgau

 : “ 

What was decided between us from the start continues to be valid for the future

 ”, namely “ 

that there will be no troops on the ground, no soldiers sent either by European states or by NATO states on Ukrainian soil



It is important to always ensure this

 ,” he added, estimating that there was “ 

very great unanimity on this issue

 ” among Ukraine’s allied countries.

- A spokesperson for Rishi Sunak, the British Prime Minister 

: “ 

A small number

 ” of people sent by London are already on site “ 

to support the Ukrainian armed forces, particularly in terms of medical training



We are not planning a large-scale deployment

 ,” he added.

- Pilar Alegría, spokesperson for the Spanish government, after the Council of Ministers 

: “ 

Our country has already expressed its position on this issue and we do not agree

 ” with the idea of ​​“ 

deploying European troops in Ukraine



We must concentrate on what is urgent, namely accelerating the delivery of

 military equipment” to Kiev, she added, emphasizing the necessary “ 


 ” of Europeans which is “ 

the most effective weapon of which disposes Europe

 ” against Russia.


Donald Tusk, Polish Prime Minister 

: “ 

We are not considering sending our troops to Ukraine and we have a common position on this point

 ” with the Czech Republic, he declared during a press conference with his Czech counterpart, Petr Fiala.


Today, we should concentrate, as the Polish or Czech governments did, on supporting Ukraine as much as possible in its military effort

 ,” added Donald Tusk.


Ulf Kristersson, Swedish Prime Minister, whose country will soon become the 32nd member of NATO

 : “ 

There is no demand

 ” on the Ukrainian side for ground troops, he recalls, therefore “ 

the question is not current

 ", even if this possibility is not excluded in the future.


At the moment, we are busy sending advanced equipment to Ukraine (in) different ways

 ,” he continued.


Peter Szijjarto, Hungarian Foreign Minister

 : “ 

Hungary's position is clear and firm: we are not ready to send weapons or soldiers to Ukraine.

The war must end, not deepen and widen it

 ,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

As a reminder, Budapest is the only capital among the 27 to have maintained close ties with Moscow after the launch of the invasion of Ukraine two years ago;

it also blocked new European aid to kyiv for a time.


The Italian government of Georgia Meloni

 in a press release believes that Western aid to Ukraine “

does not provide

” for the deployment of European or NATO troops.

Violent fighting in eastern Ukraine

Ukraine finds itself in an “ 

extremely difficult situation

 ,” according to President Volodymyr Zelensky.


Violent fighting

 ” is taking place near the town of Tchassiv Iar, a key town near Bakhmout, in the east of the country.

A possible capture of this almost deserted locality could allow Russian forces to step up their attacks against Kramatorsk, the last major city in Donbass controlled by kyiv and targeted more and more often by Russian bombings.

The Ukrainian army is still waiting for Western weapons necessary for its survival, while the American Congress is still blocking $60 billion in aid.

Read alsoParis Conference on support for Ukraine: the Kremlin reacts to Emmanuel Macron's comments


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