Macron Gathering European Coalition To Send Military Trainers To Ukraine

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Jun 03, 2024 - 06:45 AM

French President Emmanuel Macron is busy working behind the scenes on a controversial new initiative to assemble an army of troops from NATO countries to be sent to Ukraine.

For now, the plan is to send the Western soldiers in the capacity of trainers and military advisers for Ukraine's armed forces, with the training likely to take place in the West of the war-ravaged country, or at least far from the front lines.

Via Reuters

"Paris has been working for a while now with the Ukrainians on this," a person familiar with France's initiative told The Financial Times. But the plan hasn't been launched formally by NATO leadership.

"The strong view is that it makes sense, technically... But it won’t be a Nato initiative," the source explained. This as a number of NATO countries have voiced reluctance or even outright disapproval, fearing unnecessary confrontation with Russia and runaway escalation that would put Western troops directly in harm's way.

According to more details of Macron's plan via FT:

President Emmanuel Macron is expected to unveil France’s plan to send army trainers next Thursday when he hosts Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Normandy along with other leaders, including US President Joe Biden, on the 80th anniversary of the D-Day, according to people familiar with the matter.

Macron’s proposal would entail French soldiers training Ukrainian personnel for tasks including demining operations or repairing and maintaining military equipment. It could end up involving dozens or hundreds of troops. 

Already, the hawkish anti-Moscow Baltic states of Estonia and Lithuania appear to have signed onto Macron's plan. As of a month ago, Estonia said it was "seriously" discussing sending troops to Ukraine.

The French government has since said it is working with Kiev to try and understand their exact needs in terms of training and advisory operations.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz was among the first who tried to caution against a 'boots on the ground' scenario starting back in February. "What was agreed among ourselves and with each other from the very beginning also applies to the future, namely that there will be no ground troops, no soldiers on Ukrainian soil sent there by European countries or NATO states," he had said.

Meanwhile, some NATO states are busy abandoning all pretense...

Interestingly, Russian state media is pointing to recent words of Kiev officials to claim that French troops area already en route to Ukraine. According to RT:

The first group of French military instructors are on their way to Ukraine, senior Ukrainian MP Aleksey Goncharenko said on Friday. This comes just days after Ukraine’s top commander, Aleksandr Syrsky, announced that he had completed paperwork facilitating the presence of French personnel in the country.

"My sources informed me that the first group of French instructors is already on its way to Ukraine," Goncharenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament and delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday evening.

Russia has warned it will target NATO personnel and equipment found in Ukraine, and so all of this brings with it the real risk of triggering the NATO Article 5 common defense treaty, which some hawkish Western leaders would argue requires going to war with Russia.