European leaders fail to reach consensus on sending troops to Ukraine

Many European countries on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of sending ground troops to Ukraine.
European leaders fail to reach consensus on sending troops to Ukraine

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius listens to his Austrian counterpart Klaudia Tanner on his visit in Vienna, Austria, on February 27, 2024.

Many European countries on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of sending ground troops to Ukraine, after Monday's meeting in Paris during which French President Emmanuel Macron suggested that European nations might do so.

"Boots on the ground is not an option for Germany," German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius told a press conference after meeting with his Austrian counterpart Klaudia Tanner in Vienna on Tuesday.

Tanner also called Macron's remarks "a worrying signal."

"It is clear: there will be no ground troops from European countries or NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)," German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a tweet on X Tuesday.

Prime ministers of the Visegrad Group (V4) countries also confirmed on Tuesday that they are not planning to send troops to Ukraine.

Czech's Prime Minister Petr Fiala, Poland's Donald Tusk, Slovakia's Robert Fico and Hungary's Viktor Orban made the statement after a V4 leaders meeting in Bratislava.

Despite their agreement on Ukraine's need for help, they are willing to offer assistance in different forms, Fiala said. He said the Czech Republic and Poland are providing military aid to Ukraine, while Hungary and Slovakia are willing to offer humanitarian and financial aid.

Fico and Orban also called for an immediate ceasefire and peace talks to solve the Ukraine crisis.

Britain, Spain and Italy also rejected the idea of sending troops on the ground in Ukraine.

Britain has no plans for "a large-scale deployment" of troops to Ukraine beyond a small number of personnel already in Ukraine helping to train the country's forces, a spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Tuesday.

"The Conference... provided an opportunity to reaffirm Italy's full commitment to supporting Ukraine in its fight to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity," the Italian government said. "This support does not provide for the presence of troops from European or NATO countries on Ukraine territory."

Two years after the start of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, around 20 European leaders met on Monday at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris, France, to reaffirm their solidarity and support for Ukraine. The leaders agreed on new initiatives including network defense, and joint production of weapons in Ukraine.

Macron said after the meeting that although no consensus was reached to send ground troops to Ukraine, "nothing can be ruled out."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday that his country had received only 30 percent of the 1 million shells promised by the European Union last year, while Kyiv troops are struggling on the front lines as they are short of ammunition.

Following Macron's comments, Russia has warned a direct conflict between NATO and Russia would be inevitable, if the alliance sent troops in Ukraine.

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