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20 Mar, 2024 14:55

Western troops in Ukraine ‘an open secret’ – Poland

The presence of a certain number of NATO-member forces has been implicitly confirmed, according to Warsaw’s top diplomat
Western troops in Ukraine ‘an open secret’ – Poland

The fact that Western forces are present in Ukraine is now an ‘open secret’, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski has told German press agency dpa.

The statement comes less than two weeks after the minister said the deployment of NATO troops to the country was “not unthinkable,” and that he appreciates French President Emmanuel Macron for not ruling out the idea.

In an interview with dpa on Wednesday, Sikorski stated, “As your chancellor [Olaf Scholz] said, there are already some troops from big countries in Ukraine.” 

Last month during a press meeting, Scholz justified his rejection of the delivery of Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine by saying that Berlin would not participate using soldiers in targeting control, either from Germany or on the ground.

“What the British and the French are doing in terms of target control and accompanying target control cannot be done in Germany,” the chancellor told journalists at the time. His words have been widely interpreted as confirming the presence of Western soldiers in Ukraine.

Asked by dpa whether Scholz’ revelation was a problem, Sikorski responded, “In Polish, we have the expression ‘tajemnica poliszynela,’ which describes a secret that everyone knows.” 

Sikorski reiterated that Warsaw would not send ground troops to Ukraine, citing historical reasons. “Ukraine and Poland have been one country for 400 years. This would provide fodder for Russian propaganda. Therefore, we should be the last ones to do so,” he concluded.

The Polish diplomat, however, welcomed the French president not taking the option of sending ground troops off the table.

Macron said in late February that he “cannot exclude” the possibility of soldiers from the US-led military bloc being sent to aid Kiev. The statement sparked a wave of denials from the leaders of NATO member states, who insisted they harbor no plans to deploy combat troops to Ukraine. He doubled down this month, saying that Paris recognizes no limits or Russian “red lines” when it comes to backing Kiev. Europeans “will have to live up to history and the courage that it requires,” the French leader insisted.

In his recent address to Russia’s Federal Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin commented on the talk of “deploying NATO military contingents to Ukraine,” by saying that all previous attempts to conquer Russia have ended in failure, and that “now the consequences for potential invaders would be far more tragic.”