Macron raises rukus: EU ground troops in Ukraine?

France’s President Macron has made waves again with a statement about the war in Ukraine: talking to the press after the Paris conference in support of Ukraine, he said that while there was no consensus about sending troops to Ukraine, given the dynamic unfolding, nothing could be ruled out. EU leaders promptly rejected the idea. Commentators discuss the possibility of such military engagement and analyse Macron’s motives.

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

New scenarios for Putin

Paris is getting serious, applauds Rzeczpospolita:

“It could send training troops to Ukraine or organise facilities for repairing Ukrainian military equipment. France’s resolve is apparent in its decision to send long-range missiles, which is still a no-no for Germany. And also in its involvement in a Czech initiative to buy munition for Kyiv outside Europe. Sending in Nato troops remains a last resort. But it is one that Putin can no longer rule out.”

Jędrzej Bielecki
Unian (UA) /

War on Ukrainian soil preferable

For political scientist Volodymyr Horbach commenting in Unian, the deployment of EU ground troops in Ukraine could very well become reality:

“We can see that EU countries have come round to the idea that this is not some local war, but a war with global consequences. ... The concern, worry and fear about a Russian attack could lead to such a decision being taken in the future. Because if a clash with Russia were to become inevitable, it would be preferable to fight on Ukrainian territory rather than on EU or Nato territory. This means that it would be a rational step — a forward-looking step.”

Wolodymyr Horbatsch
La Repubblica (IT) /

It’s not about front-line fighters

La Repubblica interjects:

“If Kyiv is to withstand the superiority of the Russian war machine, the only solution is to beat quantity with quality and equip it with technologically advanced weapons. But it will take many months for the Ukrainians to learn to use these tools. Too late to overcome the crisis. ... The only way to immediately put the armed forces in a position to deploy long-range missiles, fighter planes, helicopters, radar, air defence systems and electronic jamming equipment is to send Western soldiers. Not front-line fighters, but technicians, and officers who can devise tactics to maximise the potential of the weapons while remaining in the background.”

Gianluca Di Feo
Le Figaro (FR) /

Focus on diplomatic role

Commenting in Le Figaro, lawyer and former conservative member of parliament Pierre Lellouche wishes France would adopt a stronger role as moderator:

“Macron’s escalation feels as improvised as it is dangerous. Of course it is legitimate to offer financial and military assistance to a neighbouring democratic state that is under attack. But sending in ground troops is tantamount to engaging in open warfare with a major nuclear power. Is France ready for this? Should the nation which likes to present itself as a ‘regulating power’ (another Macron term) not have tried to come up with a diplomatic solution, as indeed the warring parties themselves were attempting to do in Istanbul a year ago? In any case, there needs to be a debate about this, above all in the National Assembly.”

Pierre Lellouche
Adevărul (RO) /

No financial basis for this initiative

Macron’s words were rash, writes political analyst Cristian Unteanu in Adevărul:

“Normally, such an option would constitute a shift in Nato’s classic strategic stance, and that is not something that is decided at a conference in Paris. It would be decided at the level of heads of state and government, and obviously only after a change in NATO leadership and once the results of the election battle in the US are known. Moreover, such a discussion has no credible financial basis given the current economic situation in Europe. So far Ukraine has yet to receive even 30 percent of the artillery shells promised with such pathos by Western leaders.”

Cristian Unteanu
Kauppalehti (FI) /

Paris wants to up the pressure on Berlin

Germany is not pulling its weight, Kauppalehti states:

“In the EU it’s the normal pattern that France comes up with big ideas and Germany reacts hesitantly. Then they plot out a joint course. ... Macron wants to turn up the heat on Germany because Scholz is still refusing to send its powerful Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine. ... Experts are saying that Macron’s initiatives are getting increasingly belligerent. After the meeting, Macron announced: "We will do whatever it takes to stop Russia winning the war." The question is whether Germany is also doing its bit.”

Zeit Online (DE) /

Deplorable European cacaphony

Zeit Online agrees with critics of the idea:

“Macron-bashing is perfectly justified this time. Because there was no need to continue the spiral of escalation. But that’s just one part of it. Because this magnificent, sabre-rattling, gung-ho Frenchman stands opposite the German accountant-chancellor, who is stubbornly refusing to deliver Taurus missiles to Ukraine. On one side glamorous Frenchman, on the other the grey German. Neither is helping Ukraine. This European cacophony is utterly deplorable – at a time when Europe should be standing united and resolute against Russian imperialism.”

Ulrich Ladurner