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2 May, 2024 14:20

Threat of sending Western troops to Ukraine necessary – Macron

Moscow should be kept guessing about a possible intervention, the French president has argued
Threat of sending Western troops to Ukraine necessary – Macron

The French threat to potentially deploy troops in Ukraine is necessary as a “strategic wake up call for my counterparts,” President Emmanuel Macron has claimed. He also repeated his assertion that Russia should not be allowed to win in the conflict.

The French leader reiterated his attempt to use a “strategic ambiguity” approach to the situation by maintaining that the option of deploying troops was on the table. He first made the suggestion after hosting an international meeting on Ukraine in February.

“If Russia wins in Ukraine, there will be no security in Europe,” Macron stated in an interview with The Economist, published on Thursday.

“I’m not ruling anything out, because we are facing someone who is not ruling anything out,” he told the magazine, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Macron claimed that the supposed deterrence produced by the hypothetical deployment of French troops is necessary to prevent a Russian victory and fend off future attacks on other nations – despite Moscow denying that it has any intention to do so. He also turned to the argument of sunk costs to explain why Kiev must be supported by Western states.

”What credibility [will there be] for Europeans, who would have spent billions, [with] the survival of the continent... at stake and not have given themselves the means to stop Russia?” he asked.

Critics of his take on diplomacy claim that it has already backfired, with the leaders of other Western nations rushing to assure that they will not have boots on the ground in Ukraine. Moscow has stated that its interest in the conflict is existential and that it would not compromise on its core goal, regardless the West’s course of action.

Russian officials have cited NATO’s creeping expansion into Ukraine, Kiev’s discriminatory policies against ethnic Russians and the increasing influence of radical nationalists in the country as the key triggers for the conflict.

In the interview, Macron hailed the French role in the failed attempts to resolve tensions between Russia and Ukraine after the 2014 armed coup in Kiev. The process was supposed to alleviate Moscow’s concerns and forge reconciliation between the Ukrainian government and the erstwhile breakaway regions in Donbass.

Together with Germany, “we were responsible for saving the Minsk agreements and the Normandy process,” the French president said. “We were right to take the diplomatic route.”

“These steps undoubtedly slowed things down and also enabled us to build joint European demands with regard to Putin.”

Senior Ukrainian and European officials have described the Minsk agreements as a ruse to give Kiev more time to build up its military with NATO’s help. Moscow has cited the bad-faith dealing as evidence of the West’s intention to ramp up the stand-off with Russia.