Macron rules nothing out to help Ukraine win, including ground troops

Paris, Feb. 27, (dpa/GNA) – French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said he is not ruling out the deployment of French ground troops in Ukraine.

Macron said nothing is off the table in order to ensure that Russia does not win its war against Ukraine, after the conclusion of a Ukraine aid conference in Paris on Monday.

The meeting, which was organized at short notice, featured top representatives from many of Kiev’s key European backers, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron.

There was no consensus on the use of ground troops at the meeting of over 20 heads of state and prime ministers, but nothing could be ruled out in terms of future dynamics, Macron said.

Before his departure for the Paris meeting, Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico warned of a “dangerous escalation of tensions” with Russia. Individual countries, which he did not wish to name, were apparently prepared to send their own soldiers directly to Ukraine, he said.

However, this would not persuade Russia to give in, but would certainly increase the risk of the conflict escalating, he warned.

After the conference, Macron said in response to the question of a possible deployment of troops by Poland that each country could decide independently and sovereignly on the deployment of ground troops.

“There is no consensus today on officially deploying ground troops,” said Macron. “But nothing can be ruled out in the dynamic. We will do everything necessary to ensure that Russia cannot win this war,” he said.

“Many people who say ‘never, never’ today are the same people who said ‘never, never tanks, never, never aircraft, never, never longer-range missiles’ two years ago. Today, the discussion is about becoming faster and stronger in the delivery of tanks and missiles.”

“So anything is possible if it helps us achieve our goal,” Macron said.

At the meeting, it was decided to form a coalition to supply Ukraine with missiles for attacks far behind Russian lines, said the French president. In the short term, additional ammunition should also be mobilized for Ukraine from its own stocks.

A delivery of French Mirage fighter jets has not yet been decided, but the French military equipment that could help Ukraine is still being examined, said Macron.

“The general realization today is that the security of all of us is at stake,” Macron said at the Élysée Palace at the start of the conference.

As Ukraine’s war enters its third year, Macron said Moscow’s behaviour was becoming more aggressive on the political level and on the front line in Ukraine.

Macron said Russia’s behaviour was hardening both at a political level and on the front in Ukraine, where new Russian attacks were threatening. A Russian defeat is necessary for stability and security in Europe, and Ukraine’s supporters need to give themselves a jolt, he said.

“Russia must not win the war,” Macron emphasized, saying support cannot be allowed to waver and that Ukraine’s backers must intensify efforts.

“We are in the process of ensuring our security today and tomorrow,” said Macron. “We do not want to go to war with the Russian people,” the President also stressed.

Increased aid for Ukraine with money and weapons must be mobilized both jointly and at a national level, he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky joined the Paris meeting via video.

An advisor to Macron said in advance that the consultations in Paris would be less about new assurances for arms deliveries and more about increasing the efficiency of the military aid already promised – including the training of Ukrainian soldiers and cyber defence.