Macron not ruling out sending Western troops to Ukraine


French President Emmanuel Macron triggered a shockwave in Europe by refusing to rule out the dispatch of Western ground troops to Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion.

Macron had hosted a conference of European leaders on Feb. 26, just over two years to the day after Russia invaded Ukraine, seeking to rally greater support for Kiev, which faces increasing battlefield challenges and dwindling munition stocks.

He painted a grim picture of Russia under President Vladimir Putin, arguing there had been a “change of posture” even in the last months that had seen a hardening of its stance both domestically and in Ukraine.

“Nothing can be excluded to pursue our objective: Russia cannot and must not win this war,” Macron said after the conference gathering leaders including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Polish President Andrzej Duda that ended with a midnight press conference.

While there was “no consensus” on the sending of Western ground troops to Ukraine, “nothing should be excluded. We will do whatever it takes to ensure that Russia cannot win this war,” Macron added.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov offered a muted initial reaction, saying that sending Western troops to Ukraine was “absolutely not in the interests of these countries, they should be aware of this.”

Macron had refused to say more about France’s position, citing the need for “strategic ambiguity” but saying the issue was mentioned “among the options”.

“We are convinced that the defeat of Russia is indispensable to security and stability in Europe,” Macron said.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, accused by critics of being too cozy with Moscow, said after the meeting that there was disunity on the issue at the meeting.

“There are countries that are ready to send their own soldiers to Ukraine, there are countries that say never, Slovakia is among them, and there are countries that say that this proposal should be considered,” he said.

Macron was criticized at home by the party leader of the far-right National Rally Jordan Bardella who accused the president of “losing his cool” by raising “the specter of a committing of our troops against a nuclear power”.

But French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal on Feb. 27 reaffirmed Macron’s comments, saying “you can’t rule anything out in a war”.

Macron even took an apparent swipe at France’s ally Germany, which had been mocked in the first months of the war for its relatively soft promises of military support.

“I recall that two years ago many around this table said we will offer sleeping bags and helmets and now they say we need to do more and quicker to have missiles and tanks.”

“Let us have the humility to note that we have often been six to 12 months late.”__Daily Hurriyet