Macron Urges Allies “Not to Be Cowardly” as Major NATO Powers Reject Troop Deployment to Ukraine

President Macron of France urged allies to safeguard Ukraine without "cowardice" and suggested the possible deployment of troops. Nevertheless, significant NATO members such as Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom promptly disavowed the deployment of ground forces. The greater openness of smaller nations such as Estonia and Lithuania exposed divisions within the alliance. Macron subsequently recanted his remark that Western troops entering Ukraine would result in a "direct military clash," which Russia had threatened.

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India. He holds an M.B.A in International Business. Books: Author: Foxtrot to Arihant: The Story of Indian Navy's Submarine Arm; Co Author : Warring Navies - India and Pakistan. *views are Personal

French President Emmanuel Macron, on March 5, urged friends to “not be cowardly” in defending Kyiv in the face of Russian military assault. In an interview with the Czech daily Pravo, the chief of the Élysée stated that “today there is no unanimity on sending foot soldiers to Ukraine.” During his visit to Prague, Macron emphasised that “nothing is to be excluded. We will do whatever is necessary to ensure that Russia cannot win this war.”

The French President added that he has “always been clear that we are not at war against the Russian people, and we refuse to engage in the logic of escalation.”

“In my view, we need a fresh start, a strategic awakening of our democracies because Russia, through its impunity, threatens the security of the European continent and its values,” Macron continued, emphasising that “the Ukrainians are fighting for our values, our security, and our freedom, and we too must rise to this challenge.” Macron stressed that “our determination will not waver because it concerns our security.”

Meanwhile, “Russia has suffered a series of strategic setbacks and losses on the ground” in Ukraine, while “NATO has strengthened, and the European Union has decided to open negotiations for Ukraine’s accession.”

Macron says, “Russia has entered a new phase, even towards European countries.” The head of the Élysée mentioned “an increase in cyberattacks and disinformation acts in France and many European countries.” The death of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, which “shocked us all, is a demonstration of the Kremlin regime’s hardening. But at the same time, it is a sign of weakness and fear towards any form of opposition.”

However, the French President has himself denied the possibility of sending the French troops to Ukraine. 

“In response to a question I was asked about troop deployment, I said that nothing is excluded,” Macron recalled.

“This does not mean that we are considering the possibility of sending French troops to Ukraine in the near future, but that we are starting discussions and thinking about everything that can be done to support Ukraine, especially on Ukrainian territory,” he explained.

Last week, Macron’s words about a possible future deployment of soldiers to Kyiv sparked controversy. “Today, there is no consensus on officially, unequivocally, and approved sending ground troops. But in the dynamic, nothing is to be excluded. We will do whatever is necessary to ensure that Russia cannot win this war,” he explained at the end of the Paris Conference.

Unwilling NATO Allies

Western nations, including Germany, Hungary, Poland, and the United Kingdom, distanced themselves from the Élysée’s views. Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO General Secretary, quickly rejected the proposal. Most influential members, like the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany, have publicly rejected the idea. Smaller nations like Estonia and Lithuania have responded more positively to the proposal.

The same day, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock reiterated France and Germany’s great friendship and cooperation following disagreements between the two countries over the likely deployment of Western soldiers in Ukraine.

“Deep friendship and solidarity are not expressed by always agreeing. If you always agree, something is wrong,” she declared during a meeting in Sarajevo with her Bosnian counterpart, Elmedin Konakovic. “Deep friendship is expressed above all by the fact that, even if we don’t agree, we remain united, and nothing can come between us.”

Baerbock travelled from Sarajevo to Paris for a working meeting with her French colleague, Stéphane Séjourné. The discussion came after disagreements arose between German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President about the potential deployment of European troops in Ukraine. Scholz recently defended his decision not to send soldiers to Ukraine in reaction to Macron’s remarks, which did not rule out the deployment of Western ground forces on Ukrainian territory.

No Formal Proposal

Italy said it had not been notified of French President Emmanuel Macron’s suggestion to deploy troops to Ukraine. Antonio Tajani, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, asserts that this notion has fallen into oblivion. “During the meeting in Paris organised by Macron, Deputy Minister Edmondo Chirielli participated. Several hours before that, there was a G7 meeting. Nobody ever mentioned this hypothesis,” Tajani stated on Rai Radio1.

The minister emphasised that the Italian government “absolutely” had no knowledge of the French leader’s idea. “Later, the French themselves partially corrected the aim, saying that it was about presence, not combat units, about consultants, advisors. I think this hypothesis has already been consigned to oblivion,” said Tajani, noting that he is “completely against” sending Italian military personnel to the “Ukrainian front.”

 Meanwhile, Russia’s Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, warned that “the deployment of Western troops in Ukraine would inevitably lead to a direct military clash between Russia and NATO.”


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