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Macron's statement on sending troops to Ukraine infuriates Washington officials

Macron's statement on sending troops to Ukraine infuriates Washington officials French President Emmanuel Macron (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

French President Emmanuel Macron's statement regarding the potential deployment of troops to Ukraine has infuriated American officials, who anonymously assert that such a move could even risk confrontation with Moscow, according to Bloomberg.

According to the agency, with Britain no longer part of the European Union and the German government divided, Macron has become the de facto nominal leader of the continent in foreign policy. However, not all of his allies are convinced he is the best defender of their interests.

In particular, Macron's statement drew immediate and public criticism from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

According to an anonymous American official, by compelling Berlin to publicly rule out the possibility of sending troops, Macron managed to dispel ambiguity regarding the allies' red lines.

Other anonymous officials believe Macron's statement wasn't very wise from an operational security standpoint, especially considering that several countries already have undisclosed personnel in Ukraine.

Russian threat

The issue of European military unity becomes even more crucial now, with Putin emboldened by his victory in the elections he organized on the anniversary of the annexation of Crimea, while months-long doubts about supplying weapons to Ukraine remain unresolved.

As Bloomberg notes, there are also domestic politics at play in France. Macron is putting Ukraine at the forefront of the campaign for the European Parliament elections in June, portraying his far-right rival Marine Le Pen as an ally of Putin.

"It’s increasingly clear that Russia is a threat to us," said French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu. "We can’t permit ourselves to envisage a Russian victory."

According to an official familiar with the discussions at their recent meeting in Brussels, there is no doubt that some EU prime ministers are counting on Macron's leadership, and many welcome his tough stance on Russia.

At the same time, France supported Poland's demand for a ban on Ukrainian grain in the EU.

More words than actions

One of Europe's plans to address the shortage of weapons in Ukraine is emblematic of why Macron annoys some allies. Critics of the French president say he talks more than he acts.

Czechia leads an initiative to purchase around 800,000 shells from sources outside the EU. Although Macron said last month that he supports the Czech initiative, France has not yet made a financial contribution. In contrast, Germany is spending €300 million to purchase 180,000 shells.

According to the Kiel Institute, since the beginning of the war, France has lagged far behind its allies in the volume of aid sent to Ukraine. It provided less than €2 billion in support to Kyiv, unlike Germany, which allocated €22 billion. This is a stark mismatch, although the French government claims these figures do not account for the disproportionate impact its modern weaponry has had on the battlefield.

Macron's statements on deploying troops to Ukraine

At the end of February, French President Emmanuel Macron did not rule out the possibility that Western countries could deploy troops to assist Ukraine.

Later, the French leader clarified that his country could send its troops to Ukraine if Russia resumed its offensive towards Kyiv or Odesa.

In March, Macron again made a statement about France's troops in Ukraine, emphasizing that such an option is not ruled out.