France Aiming to Create Alliance of NATO Countries Willing to Send Soldiers to Ukraine

Orinoco Tribune, March 10, 2024 —

France is trying to build a military alliance of NATO member countries willing to send their armed forces to Ukraine, adopting a polar opposite position to a more cautious Germany, US media outlet Politico reported.

Although most European countries, including Germany and the Czech Republic, are reluctant to send troops to Ukraine, the Baltic states Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are more open to the idea, reported Politico. Meanwhile Poland, which was initially reluctant, now appears to be changing its position. The foreign affairs minister of the new government of Poland, Radosław Sikorski, declared earlier this week that “the presence of NATO troops in Ukraine is not unthinkable,” repeating Macron’s sentiments.

“There can be no buts”
On Friday, March 8, French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné held a meeting with his counterparts from the Baltic states in Vilnius (Lithuania), intending to reinforce the proposal that foreign troops could help the Kiev regime in tasks that do not involve fighting Russian forces, such as demining. The foreign minister of Ukraine, Dmitro Kuleba, was also present at the meeting.

The foreign ministers of Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, France, and Ukraine in Vilnius, March 8, 2024. Photo: Mindaugas Kulbis/AP.

“It is not for Russia to tell us how we should help Ukraine in the coming months or years,” Séjourné said at the meeting. “It is not up to Russia to organize how to deploy our actions or establish red lines. So we decided it among ourselves.”

“There can be no buts. We must draw red lines for Russia, not for ourselves. No form of support for Ukraine can be excluded,” said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, who chaired the meeting.

Politico reported that the Baltic ministers praised France for “thinking outside the box” regarding the Ukraine conflict.

However, French Foreign Minister Séjourné clarified that the French initiative was not in response to any request from the Kiev government but an autonomous initiative. “At the moment, Ukraine is [only] asking us to send ammunition,” he said.

On the other hand, Kuleba subtly attacked Germany’s reluctance to send long-range Taurus cruise missiles to Kiev for fear of provoking Ryussia. ” Personally, I’m fed up with… the fear of escalation. Our problem is that there are still people who think of this war in terms of fear of escalation,” he said.

Opposition to Macron’s proposal
On February 27, French President Emmanuel Macron suggested the possibility that NATO troops could be sent to Ukraine. During a special summit on the Ukraine conflict, attended by 20 European countries, the French president said, “Today there is no consensus to send troops on the ground. But in dynamic terms, nothing should be ruled out.” Such an initiative has already been rejected by Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Sweden, and Canada.

Russia has also criticized Macron’s proposal. On February 29, the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, in his annual address to the Federal Assembly, made warnings about “tragic consequences” if Macron’s proposal was implemented.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated that Russia consider direct confrontations between Russia and NATO inevitable if the NATO sends its troops to Ukraine.

The idea has faced opposition in the French political arena itself. After a meeting with Macron, the opposition parties declared that they were surprised by the president’s bellicose tone and were disappointed by the absence of diplomatic solutions. “I came worried and left more worried,” Manuel Bompard, coordinator of the left-wing political platform La France Insoumise (Rebellious France), said to the press.

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