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Macron does not rule out the use of ground troops

At an aid conference in Paris, over 20 countries decided to provide more and faster aid to Ukraine. The deployment of Western ground troops is no longer ruled out.

French President Emmanuel Macron does not rule out the use of ground troops in Ukraine by his country. Nothing can be ruled out to prevent a Russian victory in Ukraine, Macron said after concluding a Ukraine aid conference in Paris in the evening.

At the meeting of over 20 heads of state and government, including Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), there was no agreement on the use of ground troops, said Macron. “But nothing can be ruled out in the dynamic. We will do everything necessary to ensure that Russia cannot win this war.”

Macron: Never “never, never”

Many people who said “never, never” today are the same people who said two years ago “never, never tanks, never, never airplanes, never, never longer range missiles.” Today the discussion is about becoming faster and stronger in the delivery of tanks and missiles. “So anything is possible if it helps to achieve our goal.”

“The general conclusion today is that the security of all of us is at stake,” said Macron at the start of the conference, which was organized at short notice. Russia's stance is hardening both at the political level and on the front in Ukraine, where there is a threat of new Russian attacks.

A Russian defeat is necessary for stability and security in Europe. That's why Ukraine's supporters need to step up their game. “We are in the process of ensuring our security today and tomorrow,” Macron said. “We don't want to go to war with the Russian people,” the president also said.

Macron leaves questions unanswered

They believe that France will now send soldiers to Ukraine at short notice ARD correspondent Christian Feld not. Macron leaves it open what exactly he means by his statement. “He's talking about soldiers in Ukraine. But should they be involved in combat operations? I think he's deliberately leaving that open,” says Feld. “It should be a sign towards Putin, a sign of deterrence.”

Also prime minister Attal “cannot rule out anything”

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal also believes that sending ground troops is possible. “You can't rule out anything in a war (…) in the heart of Europe,” Attal said on radio station RTL. Two years ago, many countries ruled out supplying weapons to Ukraine, he continued. “Today we are in the process of sending long-range missiles to support the Ukrainians against this aggression.”

Warning of escalation of tensions

Before leaving for the Paris meeting, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico warned of a “dangerous escalation of tensions” with Russia. Individual countries, which he did not want to name, were apparently prepared to send their own soldiers directly to Ukraine. However, that would not persuade Russia to give in, but it would certainly increase the risk of the conflict expanding.

After the conference, when asked about the possible deployment of troops by Poland, Macron said that each country could independently and sovereignly decide on the deployment of ground troops.

New Arms Coalition educated

At the meeting it was decided to form a coalition to supply Ukraine with bombs and medium- and long-range missiles for attacks behind Russian lines, said the French president. In the short term, additional ammunition should also be mobilized for Ukraine from our own stocks and from third countries.

Among other things, initiatives were agreed on cyber defense, the co-production of weapons, military capabilities and ammunition in Ukraine, as well as the defense of countries that are directly threatened by the Russian offensive in Ukraine, especially Moldova. Macron also said they wanted to support Ukraine on its border with Belarus with non-military forces. It was also about defusing mines.

Julia Borutta, ARD Paris, tagesschau, February 27, 2024 5:35 a.m

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