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NATO to rule out boots on ground in Ukraine – media

A policy statement is set to be issued after French President Emmanuel Macron refused to exclude potential deployments, according to Corriere della Sera

NATO will oppose sending troops to the battlefield in the Ukraine conflict, echoing the long-standing US stance on the matter, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported on Sunday.

According to a draft policy document to be approved at the bloc’s summit in Washington in July, NATO would adhere to a “no boots on the ground” principle, which the Italian outlet described as “one of the key phrases” in the paper.

However, the US-led military bloc is also preparing to make changes, the newspaper noted. While Western efforts to support Ukraine are currently being spearheaded by the so-called Ramstein Group led by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, this mission will reportedly be redelegated to the NATO headquarters in Brussels at the July summit. The move stems from the fact that the lion’s share of Ukraine aid is being provided by NATO members, Corriere della Sera explained.

The newspaper also reported that NATO would continue to strengthen its military footprint in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states, with plans to bring the bloc’s combined combat strength in the area to 300,000 troops.

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The reported decision not to send troops to Ukraine comes after French President Emmanuel Macron refused to rule out deployments, arguing that this rhetoric is a part of a “strategic ambiguity” approach aimed at deterring Russia. He also suggested Western troops could appear in Ukraine “if the Russians were to break through the front lines, [and] if there were a Ukrainian request.” 

Earlier this week, those remarks were echoed by US House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, who argued that Washington must continue to support Kiev with arms to stave off its collapse. If Ukraine falls, “there’s a significant likelihood that America will have to get into the conflict… with our servicewomen and our servicemen,” Jeffries claimed. US President Joe Biden, however, has said he is determined not to send troops to Ukraine.

Moscow has accused France of “belligerent rhetoric,” warning that statements about a possible Western troop deployment to Ukraine are escalating the conflict. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday that if French troops appeared in the conflict zone, “they would inevitably become targets for the Russian military.” 

On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced an exercise to test the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons, in response to what it called “provocative statements and threats” by Western officials.

May 08, 2024 at 04:11PM
RT

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