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Ukraine: Macron breaks a taboo

The French president must sometimes like to feel like the heir of General de Gaulle. Hence a small bombshell that he launched to remind his Western allies of their responsibilities in the Ukrainian conflict, which has entered its third year and is now bogged down, with an aggressor, Russia, far from being defeated.

War is in Europe and threatens us. By affirming that the sending of Western troops to Ukraine could “not be excluded”, the head of the armed forces is breaking a taboo. Something unthinkable for many. Washington, NATO itself, Rome, Madrid, London, Warsaw and, very firmly, Berlin, deplored these remarks. The French political class criticizes a reckless posture, but some experts welcome it.

Emmanuel Macron explained that he was assuming “a strategic ambiguity” intended to make Moscow change its mind, explaining that “in dynamics, nothing must be excluded”. Above all, he insisted that Russia could not emerge victorious, while some voices were raised to say that negotiation would be the path to wisdom. Unsurprisingly, the Kremlin reacted by speaking of an “inevitable” conflict if the West sent forces to Ukraine. The Élysée then clarified that these would not be combat troops. These could be trainers, maintenance personnel, deminers.

What is the President’s calculation? The United States, if Donald Trump wins the election, risks abandoning Ukraine, which it was the first to help. NATO would then find itself weakened, Putin knows it. Macron therefore calls on Europe, accustomed to living under the American umbrella, to wake up, to build its strategic autonomy, to prepare even for the worst by assuming its rearmament and the massive production of weapons. What Germany balks at.

At the start of 2024, the situation seems to benefit an ever more arrogant Russia. Poland and the Baltic States sense these threats. Moscow has garnered the support of many countries to the south. Sanctions are circumvented. The heroic Ukrainian fighters, due to lack of ammunition, can take no more. Some among them, and this is new, even dare to say that Ukraine will have to negotiate if the West does not massively deliver offensive weapons.

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