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Ukraine support cannot have limits, Macron tells French party leaders

French president defends possibility of sending troops to Ukraine ahead of bilateral security agreement
French President Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron. Credit: Ukraine’s Presidential Office
Ukraine support cannot have limits, Macron tells French party leaders

French President Emmanuel Macron has defended his statements on the possibility of sending ground troops to Ukraine, stating that “we cannot afford to set limits for ourselves in the face of an enemy who sets no limits,” according to Le Figaro.

The French leader’s 26 February statement that Western boots on the ground in Ukraine was a possibility was swiftly rebuked by other NATO nations, causing the French leader to admit that no French troops would be sent to fight Russia in the near future. It comes amid a growing French-German competition on helping Ukraine as the EU awakens to a new security reality.

The head of state met with political party leaders on Thursday to discuss the situation in Ukraine, following these recent comments.

During the meeting, Macron provided an overview of the situation on the front, describing a Ukrainian army in difficulty due to a lack of ammunition and the risk of a retreat to the benefit of the Russians, Figaro reported.

“According to what he explained to us, there is a counter-offensive which has not had the expected success, a hardening of Russia which is in a logic of territorial conquest,” a participant told Figaro.

Some opposition leaders, including Eric Ciotti of Les Républicains and Manuel Bompard of La France insoumise, expressed their opposition to the commitment of ground troops, with Bompard stating, “I arrived worried and I left more worried.”

Left-wing parties voiced concerns over the potential for escalation, with Fabien Roussel, national secretary of the Communist Party, describing Macron as being “ready tomorrow to engage in a warlike escalation that can be dangerous.”

Jordan Bardella, leader of the National Rally party, spoke out “in favor of a bilateral agreement with Ukraine” but set “red lines,” starting with the country’s accession to the European Union and NATO. Bardella left the suspense hanging on how his party would vote on the upcoming bilateral security agreement between France and Ukraine.

Macron’s allies, François Bayrou (MoDem) and Édouard Philippe (Horizons), fully supported the president’s positions. The Élysée emphasized that Macron did not himself put the sending of ground troops on the table, but only answered a question during a press conference last week.

The bilateral security agreement signed between France and Ukraine in mid-February will be the subject of a debate followed by a non-binding vote in Parliament next week. The different political groups approach the vote with varying stances, with some hesitant and others leaning towards a vote against.

Former French President François Hollande, who met with Macron on Wednesday, stressed the importance of the “broadest consensus for support for Ukraine” to “make people think” about Russian President Vladimir Putin. Hollande stated, “Do not say what you are doing, but do what you have not said. This is what allows for the most efficiency.”

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