World leaders reject Macron’s plan to send Nato troops to Ukraine in bid to stop 'Russia winning the war'

27 February 2024, 23:55 | Updated: 28 February 2024, 00:53

World leaders have rejected Macron's idea.
World leaders have rejected Macron's idea. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Nato countries have ruled out the French President’s suggestion of sending troops from the alliance to Ukraine.

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Emmanuel Macron said there was “no consensus” on sending Western soldiers to Ukraine, as he claimed several EU and Nato countries were considering sending troops to the battlefield on Monday.

But several nations have been quick to rule out the idea, as they warned such a proposal would be a “major escalation” in the war.

The UK, Germany, Poland and the US were among some of the nations to rebuff the idea as they confirmed they would not be deploying troops to the region.

The French President suggested the idea in a bid to galvanise support for Ukraine as Kyiv continues to urgently appeal for more weapons.

Speaking on Monday evening, Mr Macron said: “We will do everything needed so Russia cannot win the war.

"We should not exclude that there might be a need for security that then justifies some elements of deployment.

"But I've told you very clearly what France maintains as its position, which is a strategic ambiguity that I stand by."

While France’s foreign minister, Stéphane Séjourné, said in parliament on Tuesday that troops could be sent to the region on training missions or to build weapons without breaching a “belligerence threshold”.

Read more: Hungary approves Sweden's bid to join Nato as the military alliance expands in the face of Russia's war in Ukraine

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Macron's idea was rebuffed by Nato allies.
Macron's idea was rebuffed by Nato allies. Picture: Alamy

Mr Séjourné said: “We must consider new actions to support Ukraine. These must meet very specific needs, and I’m thinking in particular of mine clearance, cyber, and the production of weapons on the spot, on Ukrainian territory.

“Some of these actions may require a presence on Ukrainian territory, without crossing the threshold of belligerence. Nothing can be ruled out."

A spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed on Tuesday that the UK has no plans for a large-scale military deployment to Ukraine.

While a statement from the White House said Joe Biden believes the “path to victory” in Ukraine is providing military aid to the region “so Ukrainian troops have the weapons and ammunition they need to defend themselves.

“President Biden has been clear that the US will not send troops to fight in Ukraine.”

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov claimed that any deployment would “inevitably” result in an all-out war between Russia and Nato.

He said: "In that case, we would need to talk not about the probability, but about the inevitability [of direct conflict].”

British defence sources have said that adopting such a move would reflect a “major escalation’ with Russia, The Telegraph reports.

It comes as the war in Ukraine enters its third year.
It comes as the war in Ukraine enters its third year. Picture: Alamy

Lithuania is the only nation that has come out in support of France’s idea, as it confirmed it was in discussions to send over troops to train Ukrainian personnel.

An Elysée Palace source said of France’s suggestion: “The aim is to send a strong strategic message to the Russians to say: ‘Don’t do anything stupid.’”

It comes as the war in Ukraine enters its third year with no signs of it ending anytime soon.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps vowed that Britain will support Ukraine "to the end" of its war with Russia, as the government announced a further £250 million in military support over the weekend.

Mr Shapps denied that Britain was also wavering in its support of Ukraine, whose citizens he described as "incredibly brave". But he added that they are “urgently in need of more munitions, and that’s why we’re stepping up today."