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27 Feb, 2024 00:27

NATO troops in Ukraine can’t be ruled out – Macron

The French president has insisted that everything necessary must be done to ensure that Russian forces lose
NATO troops in Ukraine can’t be ruled out – Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron has argued that deployments of troops to Ukraine by NATO members and other allies cannot be ruled out because Western powers must stop at nothing to ensure that Russia does not defeat Kiev’s forces.

“There’s no consensus today to send, in an official manner, troops on the ground,” Macron told reporters after hosting a meeting of European leaders on Monday in Paris. “But in terms of dynamics, we cannot exclude anything. We will do everything necessary to prevent Russia from winning this war.”

France hosted Monday’s summit of Ukraine backers to demonstrate steadfast support and European unity amid concerns that US aid to Kiev may stop, especially if Donald Trump wins this year’s presidential election. Macron said that while Ukraine’s European allies want to avoid escalating the conflict into a direct war with Russia, they agree that they must do more to ensure that Moscow doesn’t win.

“We have to take stock of the situation and realize our collective security is at stake,” the French leader said. “We have to ratchet up. Russia must not win, not only for Ukraine, but secondly, we are, by doing so, ensuring our collective security for today and for the future.”

Macron noted that the allies who say “never, ever” today about direct troop deployments to Ukraine are the same ones that previously ruled out escalations of military aid that were later granted, including long-range missiles and fighter jets. “Two years ago, a lot around this table said that we will offer helmets and sleeping bags, and now they’re saying we need to do more to get missiles and tanks to Ukraine. We have to be humble and realize that we’ve always been six to eight months late, so we’ll do what is needed to achieve our aim.”

There is broad consensus among the nations represented at Monday’s meeting that the allies must provide more aid to Ukraine and step up more quickly, Macron claimed. “We are not at war with the Russian people, but we cannot let them win in Ukraine,” he said, adding, “We are determined to do everything necessary for as long as necessary. That is the key takeaway from this evening.”

Washington ran out of money for Ukraine last month, after burning through $113 billion in congressionally approved aid packages. US President Joe Biden is seeking an additional $60 billion in Ukraine funding as part of an emergency spending bill that also includes aid for Israel and Taiwan. Conservative Republican lawmakers have balked at approving more aid for Ukraine, saying Biden is merely prolonging the conflict without changing its outcome. Trump has claimed he would end the crisis swiftly by forcing the Ukrainian and Russian leaders to the negotiating table.