Kremlin Vows to Target French Instructors in Ukraine

The Kremlin announced today that Russian forces will target French and other foreign military instructors in Ukraine, whose deployment is currently under discussion between Paris and Kyiv

by Sededin Dedovic
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Kremlin Vows to Target French Instructors in Ukraine
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The official Kremlin confirmed today that Russian forces will target French instructors in Ukraine (whose deployment is being discussed by Paris and Kyiv), as well as any other enemy soldiers or instructors. "No instructor involved in training Ukrainian soldiers has immunity" from attacks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that "it doesn't matter if they are French or not." Last week, Ukrainian army chief of staff Oleksander Syrsky said that France would "soon" send instructors to train the country's troops, which have been facing a Russian offensive since February 2022.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense soon clarified that the deployment of instructors is "still being discussed" with France and other countries. Officially, France does not have soldiers assisting or training Ukrainian forces in Ukraine.

French President Emmanuel Macron has repeatedly spoken about the possibility of sending Western soldiers to assist Kyiv, which has sparked resistance from allies as well as anger from Russia. The plan for a European coalition of military instructors to train Ukrainian soldiers in Ukraine, which France wants, is being considered among Europeans but seems far from realization.

Many countries are wondering what the consequences of such a decision might be in relation to Moscow. French troops are ready for "the toughest engagements," said the country's land forces commander, while President Emmanuel Macron is contemplating official military deployment in Ukraine despite repeated Russian threats of retaliation.

Macron is at the forefront of a new proposal by several NATO countries to discuss sending allied forces to Ukraine in training and advisory roles, but not in combat roles. The Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, as well as Poland, have expressed support for Paris's stance, although major NATO members such as the USA and Germany are opposed.

Recently, French Army General Schill said that France could deploy a division of 20,000 soldiers within 30 days to act as part of an allied coalition. Paris, he added, could command forces of about 60,000 soldiers composed of French and other allied troops.

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