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Macron doesn't rule out sending troops to Ukraine.

Photo-Yahoo News

In Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron signaled the possibility of European nations deploying troops to Ukraine, underscoring a collective effort to counter Russian aggression and bolster Ukraine's defense capabilities. Macron's remarks came during a gathering of approximately 20 European leaders convened at the Elysee Palace to discuss strategies for enhancing support to Kyiv amidst escalating tensions in the region. While emphasizing the absence of consensus regarding troop deployment at present, Macron affirmed a commitment to exploring all necessary measures to prevent Russia from achieving its objectives in the conflict.

The meeting, convened with the aim of conveying a message of European solidarity and resolve to Russian President Vladimir Putin, sought to refute Kremlin narratives suggesting an inevitable Russian victory in the protracted conflict. Macron's call for heightened ammunition supplies to Ukraine underscored the urgency of addressing critical shortages faced by Ukrainian forces, particularly in the wake of recent setbacks on the eastern front. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy echoed Macron's concerns regarding the escalating conflict, emphasizing the imperative of thwarting further Russian aggression.

The prospect of European nations contributing troops to Ukraine elicited varying responses among attendees, with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico highlighting divergent viewpoints within NATO and the EU. While some countries expressed readiness to provide military assistance on a bilateral basis, others, including Slovakia, remained steadfast in their opposition to such measures. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, meanwhile, emphasized that troop deployment was not the primary focus of the discussions, underscoring the multifaceted nature of the deliberations.

Macron's call for European self-reliance in addressing the crisis reflects a broader strategic shift aimed at reducing dependence on the United States while enhancing European autonomy in security matters. The commitment to accelerate ammunition deliveries to Ukraine, spearheaded by a Czech-led initiative, represents a concrete step towards bolstering Ukraine's defense capabilities. Despite France's cautious approach to third-party ammunition procurement, Macron affirmed Paris's support for the initiative, signaling a broader consensus among participating nations.

Efforts to expedite ammunition deliveries underscored the pressing need to address immediate challenges facing Ukrainian forces on the ground. With the European Union falling short of its target for artillery shell deliveries, the urgency of securing alternative sources of ammunition has become increasingly apparent. The commitment of participating countries to contribute to the initiative reflects a shared recognition of the gravity of the situation and the need for swift action.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, British Foreign Minister David Cameron, and leaders from Scandinavian and Baltic nations joined the discussions, underscoring the broad international consensus on the need to support Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression. The presence of Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Jim O'Brien represented the United States, signaling continued American engagement in efforts to address the crisis.

Macron's proactive approach to seeking solutions reflects a concerted effort to galvanize international support following the impasse at the Munich Security Conference. With Macron scheduled to visit Kyiv in March, expectations are high for tangible progress in addressing the crisis. Amidst ongoing uncertainties, Macron's insistence on collective action underscores the determination of European nations to confront Russian aggression and support Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Feb. 27, 2024 3:07 p.m. 1793

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