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HomeTop NewsUkraine: Macron sticks to possible use of ground troops

Ukraine: Macron sticks to possible use of ground troops


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EIn February, Ukraine broke a blanket moratorium on aid: French President Emmanuel Macron openly said he did not rule out the use of Western ground forces in Ukraine. He explained that the Europeans disagreed on the issue – again, especially Paris and Berlin.

In a statement issued on Thursday Interview with The Economist Macron reopened the debate. “If the Russians break through the front lines and Ukraine asks for it – which it hasn’t so far – then we have to ask this question properly,” Macron said of deploying ground forces. France has already sent troops several times at the request of other sovereign states, for example in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel region.

Rejecting it a priori means that no lessons have been learned from the past two years, Macron continued. “At the NATO summit in the summer of 2022, we all rejected the delivery of tanks, deep-attack missiles and aircraft. We are all in the process of doing this now, so it would be wrong to avoid the rest.” Macron was referring to the delivery of Storm Shadow/Scalp cruise missiles.

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“Permanent Neutrality”

“I’m not ruling anything out because we’re facing someone who doesn’t rule anything out,” Macron said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Our credibility also depends on a certain ability to refrain from revealing what we will or will not do,” he continued. Russia’s aggressive reaction to his statements about sending Western ground troops shows that this approach is already having an effect.

There was an immediate reaction from Hungary on Thursday. “If a NATO member were to use ground forces (in Ukraine), it would be a direct conflict between NATO and Russia and thus a third world war,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szyjardo told broadcaster LCI.

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Strategic ambiguity contrasts with Scholz’s Ukraine policy

For Macron, the potential deployment of ground forces is an expression of strategic ambiguity. This approach is roughly where you don’t let anyone see your cards, don’t discard anything, and don’t draw red lines. This contradicts the Ukraine policy of President Olaf Schalz (SPD) and the central government. Scholz justified his negative position on the deployment of long-range Taurus cruise missiles, saying that the use of Taurus was possible only with the participation of German soldiers. The federal government also detailed the support Ukraine has received since the outbreak of war.

Given these divergent schools of thought between Berlin and Paris, it is not surprising that Macron openly praised other countries in the “Economist” interview. “I welcome today the strong commitment of Canadians and Americans, along with British and EU members,” he said, referring to announcements made by heads of state and government at a conference of supporters of Ukraine on February 26. Given.

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Stéphane Séjourné was a Member of the European Union Parliament from 2019 until his appointment as Foreign Affairs Minister in January.

French Foreign Minister

They decided to produce in Ukraine, train soldiers in Ukraine, better protect the borders with Belarus and Moldova, and conduct maintenance on Ukrainian soil. A new alliance is in place to deliver medium-range missiles, Macron said, without specifying the point. It is known that the US is now supplying Ukraine with ATACMS missiles with a range of up to 300 kilometers. By international definition, medium-range missiles have a range of at least 1000 kilometers.

Much of the interview revolves around reflections on “strategic autonomy” for Europe. Seven years ago, Macron first coined the term in a speech at the Sorbonne University in Paris. With the war in Ukraine, Berlin and other capitals must take Europe’s security into its own hands – including nuclear deterrence.

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“Deterrence is central to sovereignty,” Macron told the Economist. Therefore, he welcomes considerations from Germany about a European missile defense shield, which France has not yet joined, or about deploying NATO nuclear weapons in the country from Poland. “We Europeans must sit at the table to create a coherent framework,” Macron insisted. Its aim is to create a security guarantee for each European state. Non-EU members such as Great Britain and Norway should also be taken into account.

Macron on China’s economic policy: “We don’t want to see that”

Macron also shared his thoughts on China. President Xi Jinping is expected to visit Paris on Monday and Tuesday. Macron said he would urge Xi to support an “Olympic truce” during the Summer Olympics in Paris. The United Nations accepted France’s request in November.

“It is in our interest to ensure that China is committed to the stability of the international order,” Macron said. Russia as a disruptor of this order, a Middle East plunged into chaos, or an Iran that could arm itself with nuclear weapons—none of these are in China’s interests today. So it is necessary to work with China to create peace.

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There is the Xiaomi SU7

However, when it comes to economic policy, Macron may try to put some pressure on Xi. The EU Commission is currently conducting an official anti-subsidy investigation because China is apparently dumping excess capacity of subsidized electric cars on the European market. The German auto industry in particular has been critical of potential punitive tariffs — including retrogression — as they fear retaliation in China.

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“The Americans stopped trying to bind China to international trade rules. They reacted on their own,” Macron said, referring to U.S. President Joe Biden’s massive stimulus package, the Anti-Inflation Act. “We Europeans don’t want to see that. It was a big mistake,” Macron said. He again argued that Europe should also use subsidies to create its own champions in the fields of electromobility, wind energy and artificial intelligence.

Macron is talking about a deal with Merkel

“Europe saw itself as an open market and lived up to it. We thought trade was the right strategy to sustain people strategically and geopolitically. “Russia showed us the opposite,” Macron said.

And he recalled the deal he made with Angela Merkel in 2018. There was a deal with then-Chancellor Angela Merkel in which she dropped her blockade against Nord Stream 2 and Merkel dropped her blockade against nuclear power. In 2021, Merkel agreed to classify nuclear power as a green technology at EU level.

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Last week, Macron painted a bleak vision for Europe in a speech at the Sorbonne. “Europe may die,” he said. He struck a similar tone in The Economist, though less fatalistic.

“If we Europeans want to have any influence in the world, we have to be more innovative and ambitious than others, because we are missing two fundamental things. We don’t have the population, we don’t have the energy,” Macron said. “We have to redouble our efforts. We must redouble our ambitions. “There is reason to be optimistic as we move forward together.”

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