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6 Jun, 2024 11:55

France denies training troops in Ukraine

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal has stressed that the option of sending instructors to the war torn country is “not taboo”
France denies training troops in Ukraine

France has never trained troops on the territory of Ukraine itself but has not excluded the possibility of sending military instructors to the country, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal stated on Thursday. He added that such plans have been under consideration since February.

Attal’s comments come following repeated suggestions by the country’s president Emmanuel Macron that Paris cannot rule out the possibility of deploying its troops to the battlefield in Ukraine to prop up the government in Kiev in its fight against Russia. 

Several major news outlets have also recently reported French plans to send its instructors to train Kiev’s forces in Ukraine. Macron has refused to comment on “decisions that are yet to be made” but has not denied the rumors.

In an interview with TV channel France 2 ahead of upcoming European elections, Attal pointed out that France has already trained some 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers both in France and on the territory of some of its neighbors.

At present, the French government has no “project” to send its soldiers to Ukraine, Attal claimed. He noted, however, that the question of sending French instructors to the country was “not taboo” and hasn’t been since February, when French President Emmanuel Macron invited world leaders to Paris to discuss support for Ukraine and to put the issue “on the agenda.”

Last week, senior Ukrainian lawmaker Aleksey Goncharenko claimed that the first group of French military instructors was already en route to the country, while Kiev’s top commander, Aleksandr Syrsky, said he had completed paperwork allowing French instructors to visit Ukrainian training facilities.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas also stated last month that there some countries are “training soldiers on the ground” in Ukraine but didn’t specify any nation or provide details on the alleged operations of visiting forces.

Moscow, in turn, has warned that any foreign military personnel in the country will be considered legitimate targets for Russian strikes, regardless of which country they are from and whether they are soldiers or instructors.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has stated that there are “numerous facts” indicating that French instructors are already working in Ukraine and warned that these operatives represent an “absolutely legitimate target” for Russia’s armed forces.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also noted on Tuesday that “any instructors who are involved in training the military of the Ukrainian regime do not have any immunity” and that it “doesn’t matter whether they are French or not.”

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