Macron considers troop deployment if Russia breaches Ukraine's front

French President Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron has acknowledged the potential for deploying Western troops to Ukraine, stating the conditions under which this could occur during an interview with The Economist on May 2.

Macron noted the necessity of maintaining a strong stance against Russia. "We are facing someone who is not ruling anything out," he noted, suggesting that the West needs to be equally resolute. He argued that too much hesitation has allowed the aggressor, Russia, to operate without limits.

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"We have undoubtedly been too hesitant by defining the limits of our action to someone who no longer has any and who is the aggressor!" Macron said, adding that the West's capacity lies in earning credibility, helping, and providing Ukraine with means to resist.

Many countries have expressed understanding of France's approach, agree with the country's position, and consider it correct, he said.

"I have a clear strategic objective: Russia cannot win in Ukraine," Macron said.

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"If Russia wins in Ukraine, there will be no security in Europe. Who can pretend that Russia will stop there? What security will there be for the other neighboring countries, Moldova, Romania, Poland, Lithuania, and the others? And behind that, what credibility for Europeans who would have spent billions, said that the survival of the continent was at stake and not have given themselves the means to stop Russia? So yes, we mustn’t rule anything out because our objective is that Russia must never be able to win in Ukraine."

This is a "basic condition" for European security and military credibility, so if Russia decides to go further, all countries will have to "ask ourselves this question," he said.

France has already carried out military interventions, including recently, by deploying several thousand servicemen to the Sahel, Africa, to fight terrorism, and did so at the request of sovereign states, Macron said.

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The decision to deploy troops to Ukraine could be made under two conditions, he said: the Russians were to break through the front lines and upon a specific request from Ukraine. The Ukrainian side has yet to make such a request, Macron said.

"I think to rule it out a priori is not to learn the lessons of the past two years," he said.

"At the nato summit in the summer of 2022, we all ruled out the delivery of tanks, deep-strike missiles, aircraft. We are now all in the process of doing this, so it would be wrong to rule out the rest. But above all, it would be wrong in terms of credibility and deterrence vis-à-vis the Russians to rule it out. I note, by the way, that the aggressiveness of the Russian response to what I said showed that this was having the desired effect, which was to say: Don’t think that we will stop here if you don’t stop."

Macron said in February that the deployment of Western military forces to Ukraine in the future cannot be ruled out.

Le Figaro said in March that Macron is considering five scenarios for sending troops to Ukraine, however, some of them could be interpreted as a "direct act of war."

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