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26 Mar, 2024 15:30

‘Day may come’ for EU troops in Ukraine – Kiev

The bloc should get used to the idea of a direct confrontation with Russia, FM Dmitry Kuleba has said
‘Day may come’ for EU troops in Ukraine – Kiev

The conflict between Moscow and Kiev could reach a stage where EU countries have to deploy combat troops to Ukraine in order to counter Russian advances, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has warned.

In an interview with Politico on Monday, Kuleba complained about the decline in Western military aid for Kiev in recent months.

“Give us the damn Patriots,” he said, referring to the US-made air-defense missile systems, which, he insisted, Kiev needs to target Russian jets that launch aerial guided bombs. Moscow’s increased reliance on these upgraded munitions is why “Ukrainian troops are losing positions,” the foreign minister claimed.

Kuleba once again expressed regret over the resistance of Republican lawmakers to attempts by the administration of US President Joe Biden to push through another $60 billion in assistance for Ukraine. He also dismissed a question about Germany’s reluctance to supply long-range Taurus missiles, saying he is “tired of answering this. Sorry.”

However, French President Emmanuel Macron, who said last month that he “cannot exclude” the possibility of soldiers from NATO countries being sent to Ukraine, avoided Kuleba’s criticism.

“We were pleased to see President Macron evolve in that direction,” the foreign minister said. The French leader’s remarks led to a wave of denials from the leaders of other NATO member states, who insisted there are no such plans to send Western troops to Ukraine.

Kiev never asked for “European combat troops’ boots on the ground,” but EU leaders need to get used to the idea that “the day may come,” Kuleba stressed.

“I’m perfectly aware that Europeans are not used to the idea of war. But this is a carelessness Europeans simply cannot afford – neither for themselves nor their children,” because “if Ukraine loses, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin will not stop,” he said.

Putin said earlier that claims by Kiev and its foreign backers that Russia will target NATO states are “nonsense.” However, in another interview, the president stressed that Moscow will treat Western troops as “interventionists” if they are deployed to Ukraine, and would respond accordingly.

The deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma, Pyotr Tolstoy, warned Macron last week against directly engaging Russia on the battlefield. “We will kill all French soldiers who set foot on Ukrainian soil. Every single one that comes,” Tolstoy said in an interview with French broadcaster BFMTV.