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20 Mar, 2024 17:21

France considering Ukraine military deployment – Odessa MP

Troops may be sent to the regions bordering Belarus in order to free up Kiev’s units to be sent to the front
France considering Ukraine military deployment – Odessa MP

France is preparing to send troops to Ukraine, Aleksey Goncharenko, a senior Ukrainian MP, wrote on his Telegram channel on Wednesday. The official is currently in France for a meeting of the committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

According to Goncharenko, who represents the city of Odessa in the Ukrainian parliament, Paris is considering deploying a military force to the Ukrainian regions bordering Belarus, discussions about which “are proceeding effectively.” 

“I’m in contact with my French colleagues. And I can already say that everything is serious... There is talk about a deployment of European soldiers to the border with Belarus, [a mission] that will free the Ukrainian military stationed there and allow it to move to other directions. This will help strengthen our eastern and southern fronts,” Goncharenko wrote.

According to the MP, his sources close to President Emmanuel Macron claim the French leader is “very determined” to send troops to Ukraine, but the number of soldiers is still being discussed. Goncharenko claims that in order to form the force, France wants to create a coalition of allies, which could include Poland and the Baltic states. Germany is unlikely to join the effort, he notes, as Berlin sees boots on the ground as “an unnecessary escalation” and is “afraid of a direct confrontation with Russia.” 

The MP also stated that Macron wants to create “a joint base for training [of military personnel] and the production of ammunition” in Ukraine. Two locations in the West of the country are currently being considered for the purpose.

“It looks like France is tired of Russia. Europe is preparing to show strength,” Goncharenko concluded.

Macron said in late February that he “cannot exclude” the possibility of Western soldiers being sent to aid Kiev in its fight against Moscow. His comments triggered a barrage of criticism from other NATO member states, who mostly disavowed his proposal and claimed that they had no plans to send troops to the conflict zone. 

However, earlier this week, the head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, Sergey Naryshkin, claimed that a force of up to 2,000 troops was being prepared by France for a possible deployment to Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin also said this week that Western mercenaries, including French nationals, are already taking part in the conflict. 

Commenting on an outright NATO deployment to the front lines, the president warned that Moscow would consider it the start of a direct confrontation, which would be “one step shy of a full-scale World War III.”

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