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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Macron considers sending troops to Ukraine, calls for European action

On Monday, President Emmanuel Macron of France stated that while he did not rule out the possibility of deploying ground troops to Ukraine, there was no consensus on such action among the 20 primarily European leaders who gathered in Paris. The meeting, initiated by Macron, aimed to enhance the European response to Russian military advancements in Ukraine.

Maintaining France’s strategic ambiguity, Macron emphasized that there was no official consensus to endorse ground troops but asserted that no options should be dismissed. He pledged to exert all efforts to prevent Russia from prevailing, noting the abandonment of previous norms like providing long-range missiles and planes. Macron stressed the imperative to pursue the objective, marking the first explicit discussion of nations collectively considering sending troops to support the undermanned Ukrainian military.

Following the meeting, Macron cautioned about a shift in Russia’s stance, highlighting its ambitions beyond Ukraine and the heightened danger it poses. Notable attendees included German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, UK Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron, Polish President Andrzej Duda, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, while representatives from the US and Canada held relatively junior positions.

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Macron expressed concerns about the absence of a unified Western response to Vladimir Putin’s mobilization of the economy for war. The meeting outlined five key areas of action, focusing on cyber defense, joint production of military weapons and ammunition in Ukraine, defense of countries threatened by Russian offensives, enhanced military protection for Ukraine’s border with Belarus, and demining efforts in Ukraine. Additionally, Macron announced a new coalition for long and medium-range strike missile capabilities.

Emphasizing the necessity of Russia’s defeat for European peace and security, Macron called for decisive actions to establish a European defense pillar independent of the United States. Regarding support for Ukraine amid upcoming US elections, he asserted the need for Europeans to make decisions independently, without waiting for election outcomes.

Macron underscored Europe’s commitment to supporting Ukraine, emphasizing the continent’s stake in its future. While acknowledging Europe’s failure to meet optimistic promises on ammunition provision, he highlighted the top priority of addressing shortages and proposed increasing funding through bilateral and EU-level agreements. Macron supported the Estonian plan for EU defense bonds to secure long-term defense markets, aiming to facilitate Ukraine’s negotiation for peace and the restoration of full territorial sovereignty.

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