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31 Mar, 2024 14:57

New NATO member backs Macron on troops in Ukraine

The French president was right to be “strategically ambiguous” on the issue, Finland’s foreign minister says
New NATO member backs Macron on troops in Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron's “strategic ambiguity,” whereby he tries to keep Russia guessing about possible deployment of NATO troops to Ukraine, is the right position to take, Finnish Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen has said.

Speaking to the Financial Times on Sunday, Valtonen backed the French president's open stance on possible troop deployment, arguing, however, that there was no pressing need to actually send them in.

“Now’s not the time to send boots on the ground, and we are not even willing to discuss it at this stage. But, for the long term, of course we shouldn’t be ruling anything out,” Valtonen stated.

The ambiguous approach to the issue exhibited by Paris is the right one, as it supposedly keeps Moscow guessing about the extent of the West’s support for Ukraine and about the willingness of NATO countries to actually enter the conflict with Russia, the minister suggested.

“Why would we, especially not knowing where this war will go and what happens in the future, disclose all our cards? I really wouldn’t know,” she argued.

Another, smaller member of the US-led military bloc, Lithuania, has expressed a similar sentiment, with its PM Ingrida Simonyte also speaking highly of Macron’s purported effort to maintain “strategic ambiguity” with Russia.

“What I liked about two recent announcements of President Macron is that he said that actually why should we impose ourselves red lines when Putin basically has no red lines?” she told FT.

In recent weeks, Macron has repeatedly sent shockwaves throughout the whole US-led bloc, repeatedly making belligerent statements about the prospects of sending troops to Ukraine to fight Russia. The French president first touched on the matter late last month, stating that “we cannot exclude anything” and that the West “will do everything necessary to prevent Russia from winning this war.”

The remarks, which Macron described later on as having been “weighed, thought-through, and measured,” prompted a wave of denial from a vast majority of NATO states and from the bloc itself. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg publicly refuted the idea shortly after Macron’s initial statement, saying that no plans to deploy troops to Ukraine existed. Numerous Western leaders, including US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, have also denied the existence of such plans.