Macron Again Talks Up NATO Troops For Ukraine: 'We Cannot Allow Russia To Win'

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Mar 16, 2024 - 12:45 PM

Even after his first round of comments resulted in significant pushback from among European allies, French President Emmanuel Macron has once again declared that NATO should not rule out sending troops to Ukraine, which would set the West on a path of direct nuclear-armed confrontation with Russia.

He said in a Thursday interview on French national television that while the "situation" is perhaps not ripe at the moment to deploy troops there, it remains that "all these options are possible."

But perhaps more importantly, Macron framed Russia's war in Ukraine as an "existential" threat for Europe and said that "if the situation should deteriorate, we would be ready to make sure that Russia never wins that war."

He castigated allies for previously being slow to act: "Two years ago we said we would never send tanks. We did. Two years ago, we said we would never send medium-range missiles. We did," the French leaders said. "Those who say ‘let’s not support Ukraine’ do not make the choice of peace, they make the choice of defeat."

Ironically throughout the first year of the war, Macron was the only Western European leader to hold frequent phone calls with Russia's President Putin in efforts to de-escalate and to get to the negotiating table. But now Macron has clearly moved into the hawkish camp which sees military solutions as the only viable way out:

"We have put too many limits in our vocabulary. We are not escalating. We are not at war with Russiabut we cannot allow it to win," Macron said.

He continued on this theme in the following: "If war was to spread to Europe, it would be Russia’s sole choice and sole responsibility. But for us to decide today to be weak, to decide today that we would not respond, is being defeated already. And I don’t want that," he said.

As for NATO boots on the ground, the reality is that this is already the case to some small degree, given the Discord of last year revealed that 97 NATO special operators were in Ukraine, among them 15 French soldiers. The Kremlin has of late suggested France has already become a party to the conflict given the presence of many French mercenaries and volunteers in the conflict.

The question remains: why Macron's sudden willingness to escalate after he was seen as a dove? As a reminder, days ago the French magazine Marianne obtained leaked French defense documents assessing the situation in Ukraine. The publication issued a bombshell report in French and which remains paywalled, the title of which is machine translated: War in Ukraine: from caution to panic… What Macron’s shift hides.

Marianne says that the "several confidential defense reports" it obtained sheds light on Macron's daring and provocative invocation of the idea of sending NATO troops. The report begins:

What happened to the president when he considered sending troops to Ukraine? Several confidential defense reports explain the “panic” at the Élysée, where party leaders are invited this Thursday, March 7, to discuss the issue. On the front, the Russians are in a position of strength. However, was it necessary, in the face of Putin, to brandish an untenable threat?

Among the leaked docs included a report underscoring that it would be the "gravest error" to continue seeking military solutions. The report said:

"To date, the Ukrainian general staff does not have a critical mass of land forces capable of inter-arms maneuver at the corps level capable of challenging their Russian counterparts to break through its defensive line," concludes this confidential defense report, according to which "the gravest error of analysis and judgment would be to continue to seek exclusively military solutions to stop the hostilities". A French officer summarizes: "It is clear, given the forces present, that Ukraine cannot win this war militarily."

Of course, this directly contradicts Macron's current public stance wherein he's saying NATO must act militarily now in order to prevent the war's future spread. Our prior coverage of the leaked French defense docs is accessible for premium members here.