Ukraine Confirms France Will Send Military Trainers To Its Soil

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, May 28, 2024 - 01:40 PM

Ukraine's military says it is 'welcoming' French trainers in Ukraine, in new remarks which strongly suggest that for the first time France is deploying its troops to Ukraine soil. This marks the beginning of major 'boots on the ground' escalation in a formal, public capacity by a NATO state.

"Ukraine's top commander said on Monday he had signed paperwork allowing French military instructors to visit Ukrainian training centers soon," Reuters reported Monday, referencing head of the armed forces Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi.

"I am pleased to welcome France's initiative to send instructors to Ukraine to train Ukrainian servicemen," Syrskyi said following video link talks with French defense minister Sebastien Lecornu.

French military illustrative file image

"I have already signed the documents that will enable the first French instructors to visit our training centers shortly and familiarize themselves with their infrastructure and personnel," he followed with, strongly suggesting the plan is a done deal but may not have been initiated yet.

Syrskyi suggested that France's commitment and being out front on the "ambitious project" to train Ukrainian forces inside the country would encourage other allies to join the initiative. This follows French President Emmanuel Macron raising the idea repeatedly over the last months of placing Western boots on the ground in Ukraine. He said nothing should be ruled out.

France's Defence Ministry said told Reuters, "As already mentioned several times, training on Ukrainian soil is one of the projects discussed since the conference on support for Ukraine convened by the President of the Republic on February 26." This is in reference to the date on which Macron first voiced support for such a plan before a Paris security conference involving defense representatives from around the world.

"Like all the projects discussed at that time, this track continues to be the subject of work with the Ukrainians, in particular to understand their exact needs," the ministry added.

Macron has been in Berlin this week, which marks the first time a French president has traveled to Germany for talks with the country's Chancellor since 2000.

A focal point of the talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is said to be Ukraine, and seeking to convince Scholz to join France in a more muscular Ukraine policy. However, this has remained a point of division

Officials from both sides stressed that while there are periodic tensions on specific issues, the fundamental basis of the relationship remains sound.

But Macron’s refusal to rule out sending troops to Ukraine sparked an unusually acidic response from Scholz that Germany had no such plans. Germany also does not share Macron’s enthusiasm for a European strategic autonomy less dependent on the United States.

President Putin and his top officials have meanwhile repeatedly warned that if the West sends its troops to Ukraine, this risks sparking nuclear war. Already the Kremlin has said it has targeted groups of French mercenaries in the Kharkiv area.

Starting in February Putin warned that the Western allies were "selecting targets for striking our territory" and "talking about the possibility of sending a NATO contingent to Ukraine." With Kiev now openly welcoming French military trainers, this serious escalation is already in process.