No NATO Troops Need to Die Unless Ukraine Defeated, Says Zelensky

Children of the West will not be sent to die against Russia — as long as Ukraine’s army is kept from being defeated — President Zelensky said in his interjection into the ongoing debate over France’s Macron’s comments on deploying NATO against Moscow.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke with French broadcaster BFMTV and engaged with controversial remarks by President Emmanuel Macron, that nothing was off the table when it comes to defeating Putin’s Russia and further NATO involvement shouldn’t be ruled out. The comments have caused concern across the NATO alliance in recent weeks with other national and military leaders insisting such a deployment was totally off the table.

Yet Europeans need not worry about fighting Russia directly, Zelensky said, as long as Ukraine is successful in doing it for them, another chance for the leader to hammer home his often-repeated point that wider war in Europe can be avoided by giving Kyiv more money and more weapons.

Zelensky told the French broadcaster that: “as long as Ukraine holds out, the French army can stay on French territory… Your children will not be killed in Ukraine, but if Russia invades NATO countries, your children may be sent to one of these countries.”

While Zelensky seemed content to pour cool water on feverish European discussion about the future of NATO support for Ukraine — while subtly promoting his own cause and the importance of continuing support — he also made clear the door was open for limited Western military deployment to his country. Rather than speaking of soldiers to fight Russia, NATO could consider sending support troops instead.

He said “why not think about technical personnel who would come to Ukraine”, citing the present situation that when advanced western vehicles are damaged in Ukraine they are shipped back to Poland to be repaired, the workshops and European personnel could be forward-deployed. France has also discussed such military services, with the suggestion the country could send combat engineers to find and remove landmines, or soldiers to train Ukrainian troops on their home turf.

Zelensky also spoke in the interview about the progress of the war otherwise, as he saw it, saying that his forces had now stopped the Russian advance, which has been progressing through late winter. Further, Ukraine has been digging in and apparently preparing to fight more defensively again. He said: “When we talk about fortifications, we’re talking about an ongoing process… We’re not talking about a few kilometres, or hundreds of kilometres, but more than 1,000 kilometres of construction”.

 

Regardless, the Ukrainian President said he would like to discuss these matters further when his French counterpart comes to Ukraine. Yet Macron has again postponed a long-planned trip to Kyiv, it was reported yesterday. Russia goaded Macron for again cancelling the trip, accusing him of cowardice. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a Putin loyalist, called Macron a coward and counselled him to take “several pairs” of underwear on the trip to Ukraine, before noting he’d already “shit himself” and cancelled.

Medvedev’s outbursts have become well known, as have his frequent threats to drop nuclear weapons on the West for interfering in what he clearly sees as a private matter with Ukraine. Macron’s camp meanwhile has denied the postponement of his trip to Ukraine is down to security concerns, saying rather he only wants to go once he has “tangible results” to deliver to Zelensky in person.


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