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Russia threatens to target French military instructors in Ukraine if they are sent

As France is preparing to announce the deployment of military instructors to Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that any French military personnel sent to Ukraine, whether official or mercenary, would be considered “absolutely legitimate target” for Russian forces.
International soldiers in Ukraine.
International soldiers in Ukraine. Source: The international legion for the defense of Ukraine
Russia threatens to target French military instructors in Ukraine if they are sent

Russia warned that any French military instructors sent to Ukraine would be considered legitimate targets for Russian forces, following reports that France is considering deploying personnel to assist Ukrainian troops. 

France is expected to announce the deployment of military trainers to Ukraine, focusing on technical expertise and demining. This move aims to bolster Ukraine’s defense capabilities amid ongoing war with Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will discuss the details during his visit to France on 6 June.

“Whoever they are labelled as, whether they are members of the French armed forces or are just mercenaries, they represent an absolutely legitimate target for our armed forces,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov echoed this sentiment, emphasizing that the nationality of the instructors is irrelevant and that they would not be granted any special protection. 

Reactions to France potentially sending troops to Ukraine

The tension between Russia and France was further heightened by posters that appeared on a bus stop outside the French embassy in Moscow. The posters, which featured a black-and-white photo of a soldier wearing a French tricolour armband, accused the French of repeating the mistakes of their ancestors by fighting alongside “Nazis” against Russia, France 24 reports. 

Moscow has consistently pushed the narrative that the Ukrainian government is “neo-Nazi” and that Russia’s military campaign aims to liberate Ukraine from fascism, despite these claims being rejected by both Kyiv and Western nations, according to France 24.

 French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to deploy Western troops to Ukraine caused a major disagreement with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who feared it could lead to World War III.

His proposal faced mixed reactions, with countries like Germany, Czech Republic, and Poland initially opposing it, while the Baltic states showing support.

In June, Ukraine launched a HIMARS strike on Belgorod, Russia, just hours after US President Joe Biden lifted restrictions on using American-supplied weapons on Russian soil. This decision came following severe Russian attacks on Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine, including a devastating bombing that killed 18 people. 

Read more:

Reuters: France could announce sending military trainers to Ukraine next week

Biden to meet with Zelenskyy in France and Italy this week

France excludes Russia from Normandy landing anniversary celebrations

Syrskyi: France to send military instructors to Ukraine

Macron: France should maintain a stance capable of intervening if Russia-Ukraine war escalates

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