French president's troop deployment remarks unveil presence of Western personnel in Ukraine: Report

'There is no consensus today that ground troops should be deployed in an official way. But nothing should be ruled out,' says Emmanuel Macron

15:29 - 2/03/2024 Saturday
File photo
File photo

French President Emmanuel Macron's comments regarding the deployment of troops to Ukraine "unintentionally lifted the veil" on the presence of Western personnel on Ukrainian soil, according to local media.

Macron's remarks that sending troops to Ukraine should not be "ruled out," actually exposed the military presence of Western countries in Ukraine, Le Monde reported on Friday.

On Monday, following a summit in Paris in support of Ukraine, Macron said: “There is no consensus today that ground troops should be deployed in an official, accepted, and endorsed way. But nothing should be ruled out.”

He added: "We will do everything necessary to ensure that Russia cannot win this war."

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, state actors associated with Western intelligence services, many of whom have military status, have been present in the country, and members of special forces have inherently played a role, said the report.

The actions of these services are "by their very nature clandestine, and therefore outside the law of war," the daily said, citing Vincent Crouzet, a former employee of the Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE)

Russia launched its war on Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, just over two years ago.

"All the allied states have a presence in Ukraine. It's not a question of combat units, but there are representatives of each intelligence service, for example," a Ukrainian diplomatic source told the French daily on the condition of anonymity.

- Reactions

Macron's remarks sparked controversy as NATO allies dismissed the French president's suggestion and ruled out deploying Western troops in Ukraine.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also noted that the alliance has no plans to send combat troops into Ukraine.

According to a White House statement, US President Joe Biden believes that the "path to victory" is sending military aid to Kyiv, "so Ukrainian troops have the weapons and ammunition they need to defend themselves."

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's spokesman said the country had no plans for a large-scale military deployment to Ukraine, other than the small number of personnel already training Ukrainian forces.

On the other hand, the Kremlin said on Wednesday that Russia will take additional security measures in response to "hostile rhetoric" from NATO member states directed at Moscow.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov laughed when a reporter asked him about Macron's remarks in Türkiye's southern Antalya province on Friday, where he was attending the Antalya Diplomacy Forum (ADF).

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