French troops could have non-combat role in Ukraine – minister

By Thomson Reuters Feb 27, 2024 | 9:23 AM

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s foreign minister on Tuesday sought to clarify comments made by President Emmanuel Macron that Paris could send troops to Ukraine for specific needs, but not to fight in the war against Russia.

“We must consider new actions to support Ukraine. These must respond to very specific needs, I am thinking in particular of mine clearance, cyberdefence, the production of weapons on site, on Ukrainian territory,” Stephane Sejourne told lawmakers.

“Some of its actions could require a presence on Ukrainian territory, without crossing the threshold of fighting. Nothing should be ruled out. This was and still is the position today of the president of the Republic.”

Macron on Monday did not rule out European nations sending troops to Ukraine, but cautioned that there was no consensus at this stage as allies agreed to try harder to get munitions to Kyiv faster.

French diplomats said Macron’s idea was to stoke debate on the issue, but there were no concrete plans in that direction.

That has provoked a string of responses from allies saying they had no intention of sending troops to Ukraine.

(Reporting by John Irish, editing by Ed Osmond)