Putting Western troops on the ground in Ukraine not ‘ruled out’, says Macron

27 February 2024, 00:04

Emmanuel Macron
Western troops in Ukraine not ruled out. Picture: PA

The French president was speaking at a meeting of European leaders in Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that sending Western troops on the ground in Ukraine is not “ruled out” in the future, after the issue was debated at a gathering of European leaders, as Russia’s full-scale invasion grinds into a third year.

The French leader said at the meeting of 20 European heads of state and other western officials in Paris that “we will do everything needed so Russia cannot win the war”.

“There’s no consensus today to send, in an official, endorsed manner, troops on the ground. But in terms of dynamics, nothing can be ruled out,” Mr Macron said in a news conference.

The meeting included German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Polish President Andrzej Duda, as well as leaders from the Baltic nations.

Mr Macron declined to provide details about which nations were considering sending troops, saying he prefers to maintain some “strategic ambiguity”.

He earlier called on European leaders to ensure the continent’s “collective security” by providing unwavering support to Ukraine in the face of tougher Russian offensives on the battlefield in recent months.

“In recent months particularly, we have seen Russia getting tougher,” Mr Macron said. “We also know that Russia is preparing new attacks, in particular to shock Ukrainian public opinion.”

He cited the need to to solidify security to head off any Russian attacks on additional countries in the future.

Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia as well as much larger Poland have been considered among possible targets of future Russian expansionism. All four countries are staunch supporters of Ukraine.

Estonia’s foreign minister said earlier this month that Nato has about three or four years to strengthen its defences.

In a video speech, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the leaders in Paris to “ensure that Putin cannot destroy our achievements and cannot expand his aggression to other nations”.

The Paris conference comes after France, Germany and the UK recently signed 10-year bilateral agreements with Ukraine to send a strong signal of long-term backing as Kyiv works to shore up western support.

By Press Association

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