Lithuanian Minister Landsbergis suggests considering Macron’s idea of sending troops to Ukraine

European Union

In a move that surprised European leaders and ruffled feathers in Russia, French President Emmanuel Macron proposed last February that Western countries should consider sending troops to bolster Ukraine. While Macron was quick to point out that there was no unanimous agreement among Western allies on this matter, the idea found fertile ground in some quarters. Against the backdrop of the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has now suggested that Western nations should seriously explore Macron’s proposal of deploying allied troops in Ukraine.

Landsbergis told the French channel TF1 on May 21 that “Lithuania is ready to join a coalition led by, for example, France, which would carry out training on Ukrainian soil”.

Foreign Minister Landsbergis has been advocating for more decisive action against Russia. His recent comments have shown support in some parts of Europe for the firm approach taken by the French president. The Lithuanian foreign minister has suggested the possibility of a temporary coalition of Western countries sending military trainers to Ukraine, supported by ground-based air defence, days after Russia adopted a more aggressive stance against what it perceives as a growing Western involvement in the conflict. 

After meeting with British Foreign Secretary David Cameron in London two weeks ago, Gabrielius Landsbergis also expressed support for the British statement that Ukraine could use British-made weapons against Russia. 

Landsbergis told TF1 “We have heard very clearly President Macron’s position that we should stop saying what we are not going to do. We should start thinking about what is necessary to help Ukraine.”

Following Macron’s proposal, several EU member states, including the Czech Republic, Poland, and Sweden, quickly stated they had no plans to send their troops to Ukraine. Similarly, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg clarified that the Alliance had no immediate intentions of deploying troops to Ukraine. At the European level, member states agreed to provide Ukraine with the necessary assistance for as long as it was required but never considered committing troops.

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