Russia Enjoys Nato Disarray After Hasty Denials Of Plan To Deploy Ground Troops In Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu attend a wreath-laying ceremony marking the anniversary of the start of the Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany in 1941 at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier next to the Kremlin wall in Moscow, Russia June 22, 2022.

Michael Metzel | Sputnik | Reuters

Russia appears to be relishing French President Emmanuel Macron’s gaffe this week, suggesting that NATO countries have discussed the possibility of deploying Western ground troops to Ukrainesaying that such a possibility could not be “ruled out”.

Macron’s proposal was widely and very publicly was rejected yesterday by NATO member countries. The United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Poland and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg were among those who denied sending ground troops to Ukraine was an option.

The Kremlin was quick to seize on the comments on Tuesday, warning that any move to put Western boots on the ground in Ukraine would lead to an “inevitable” conflict between NATO and Russia. Since then, the state-run Russian media has been dominated by Russian officials who revel in the apparent division in NATO and Macron’s apparent misunderstanding of NATO’s musical mood.

Dmitry Medvedev, former president and prime minister of Russia, said Macron had suffered a bout of verbal “incontinence” while the chairman of the Russian State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, said that Macron’s “loud statements” “scared the people of his country and the leaders of some European states”.

“To maintain his personal power, Macron found nothing better than to start a third world war. His initiatives are becoming dangerous for French citizens.” Volodin said on Telegramcomparing the French president to the French leader and military commander Napoleon Bonaparte, whose invasion of Russia in 1812 is widely recognized as a military disaster for France that resulted in massive casualties.

“Before making such statements, Macron would do well to remember how it ended for Napoleon and his soldiers, more than 600,000 of whom were left lying in the wet ground,” Volodin said, referring to the muddy conditions that prevented the French invasion.

Russia’s foreign ministry claimed on Wednesday that Ukraine is facing a “catastrophic” situation on the front Russia is currently enjoying a wave of small territorial gains in eastern Ukraine and that Macron’s statement had not helped the country.

“The situation at the front for the Kiev regime is monstrous, catastrophic,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakhar said.oops on radio station Sputnik. Tass news agency reported.

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He argued that NATO countries’ denials that they planned to send ground troops to Ukraine showed that the West had “betrayed Ukraine and will continue to use and betray it”, repeating Moscow’s baseless claims that Western countries are using the Ukraine to destroy Russia.

France was humiliated

French opposition MPs rounded on Macron for the comments, with the leader of the hard-right National Rally party Marine Le Pen declaring to X that “by confirming that the deployment of ground troops is not ruled out, Emmanuel Macron took a further step towards joint belligerence”.

French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne sought to ease tensions in the French parliament on Tuesday without backing down on Macron’s comments, saying French troops could take on non-combat roles instead of actively fighting in Ukraine.

“We need to consider new actions to support Ukraine. These have to meet very specific needs, I’m thinking in particular of mine clearance, cyber defense, the production of weapons on the ground, on Ukrainian soil,” he told lawmakers, Reuters reported.

“Some of its actions could require a presence on Ukrainian soil, without crossing the threshold of combat. Nothing should be excluded. This was and still is the position of the president of the Republic today”, he said.

France remained increasingly isolated throughout the day on Tuesday, with the White House also distancing itself from Macron’s comments.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters yesterday that any decision to deploy ground troops was a “sovereign decision” but that it would not be taken by the US in Ukraine.

When asked about Macron’s comments, Kirby said “well, that’s a sovereign decision that each NATO ally will have to make for itself. [NATO] Secretary General Stoltenberg himself says he had no plans or intentions – certainly under the auspices of NATO – to put troops on the ground. And President Biden has been clear from the beginning of this conflict. There will be no US troops on the ground in a combat role there. In Ukraine.”

A gift for the Kremlin

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