Espreso. Global

Finnish Foreign Minister says deploying troops to Ukraine is long-term option

31 March, 2024 Sunday
16:50

Finnish Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen says French President Emmanuel Macron was right when he spoke about the possible troop deployment to Ukraine

The Financial Times reported the information.

“Now’s not the time to send boots on the ground and we are not even willing to discuss it at this stage. But for the long term, of course we shouldn’t be ruling anything out,” she said.

At the same time, Valtonen noted that keeping Russia guessing about the future actions of Ukraine's allies is not a mistake at all.

 “Why would we, especially not knowing where this war will go and what happens in the future, disclose all our cards? I really wouldn’t know,” she added.

Ingrida Šimonyte, the Prime Minister of Lithuania, also praised Macron's attempt to create "strategic ambiguity.”

Estonia’s foreign minister Margus Tsahkna said Macron’s intervention had “woken up a bit the leaders of Europe”.

“It makes Putin concerned about what Europe can actually do. This out of the box thinking is useful,” he explained.

However, some officials and diplomats question whether France can do more in practical terms to help Ukraine. 

A European ambassador to the Baltics said he admired Macron’s “grand geste” to Ukraine but questioned whether France always followed through on its rhetorical promises.

One Baltic military official said Macron had created the “first strategic dilemma for Russia” but that his statement was “thin” and that, it appeared, France had not thought through the next steps.

Presence of NATO forces in Ukraine

On February 26, about 20 European leaders met in Paris to discuss the threats posed by Russian leader Vladimir Putin. They were addressed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

After the conference, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the deployment of Western ground troops to combat Russian aggression should not be ruled out in the future.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico confirmed that some NATO and EU member states are allegedly discussing the possibility of sending their troops to Ukraine after signing bilateral agreements with Kyiv.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the leaders of the Alliance stated that no general decision had been made to send troops to Ukraine, while Russia called the move a declaration of war.

On February 29, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that Western leaders should not rule out the possibility of sending ground troops to Ukraine.

On March 4, Macron said that he would not send troops to Ukraine in the near future, but opened a debate on the issue.

On March 5, Macron called on allies "not to be cowards" with regard to Ukraine and to step up. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius responded to his call.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that the discussion provoked by French President Emmanuel Macron's words about the deployment of Western troops in Ukraine would save Europe a lot of time in realizing that more needs to be done.

On March 11, Czech President Petr Pavel said that the support of Ukraine by NATO troops directly on its territory would not violate any international norms.

On March 29, it was reported that, according to the Bundestag's research service, the deployment of NATO ground troops in Ukraine would not automatically lead to all other NATO countries becoming parties to the conflict.

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