behind the taboo of sending troops, the very secret Western presence alongside kyiv


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The French and Ukrainian presidents, Emmanuel Macron and Volodymyr Zelensky, on February 16, 2024, in the courtyard of the Elysée.  (DANIEL PIER / NURPHOTO / AFP)

Emmanuel Macron’s statement on the possible sending of soldiers to Ukraine sparked an outcry from Western allies. However, foreign forces have already been deployed for several years, more or less officially, on Ukrainian territory.

In front of the deputies of the National Defense and Armed Forces Commission, Tuesday February 27, Sébastien Lecornu “precise” things: France has absolutely no intention of sending soldiers to Ukraine “to make war on Russia”. If the Minister of the Armed Forces wants to make things clear, it is because a declaration by Emmanuel Macron caused trouble the day before. On the occasion of a conference in support of kyiv which took place in Paris, the President of the Republic the first time mentioned the possibility of sending ground troops. Even if“there is no consensus today, (…) nothing should be excluded”, he blurted.

From London to Berlin, all of kyiv’s European allies immediately rejected the request. However, the exit of the head of state has put the very sensitive question of the presence of allied forces alongside kyiv back on the table. Officially, France trains Ukrainian soldiers and sends equipment, but it does not act directly on the ground.

“Everything is obviously confidential”

“La France does not have a unit made up of soldiers who participate directly in the fighting or maneuvers in Ukraine, ensures General Jérôme Pellistrandi to franceinfo. On the other hand, when delivering weapons to Ukraine, we must imagine that French personnel are on site to help with the use of this equipment, to help with maintenance, to provide information as well.” But “THE Ministry of the Armed Forces cannot say it”, he explains. Just as he cannot say anything about the DGSE agents who are present in Ukraine. The nature of their actions being in fact clandestine, everything is obviously confidential.”

“It is obvious that the British are sending MI6 agents, the Americans are sending CIA agents, and France is sending DGSE agents to Ukraine.”

General Jérôme Pellistrandi

at franceinfo

Requested by The world, a Ukrainian diplomatic source is equally clear. “All allied states are present in Ukraine, he assures. These are not combat units, but there are, for example, representatives of all the intelligence services.”

Moreover, France has not “not discovered” Ukraine in February 2022. “The two countries already had relations in many areas, specifies General Pellistrandi. So DGSE agents were already used to going back and forth before the Russian invasion.” In fact, France, like its Western allies, has closely followed the situation in this country since the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the war in Donbass between Ukrainians and pro-Russian separatists.

Revelations about secret CIA bases

At the end of February, an article from New York Times made a lot of noise. His title : “How the CIA is secretly helping Ukraine fight Putin”. The American daily reveals that the intelligence agency has twelve bases along the border.whole between Russia and Ukraine. And this since 2014. These installations made it possible to anticipate the Russian invasion in February 2022. This “Secret intelligence partnership is now essential for both countries in their fight against Russia”writes the newspaper, which was able to visit one of the bases.

A few days later, Friday March 1, it was Germany’s turn to be embarrassed. A conversation between high-ranking German officers, which should have remained confidential, ended up being broadcast on Russian social networks. In the recording, participants discuss sending mlong-range Taurus issil, to which Berlin is opposed at the moment. The broadcast is embarrassing because it reveals secrets of allied countries, and under-understands the presence of the French and British on Ukrainian soil. Olaf Scholz, who promised an investigation “very thorough”, wipe since “unusually violent criticism” UK, observe the daily life Handelsblatt.

London more transparent than other allies

However, after two years of war, it is London which seems the most transparent about the presence of its men in Ukraine. “Beyond the small number of personnel we have in the country to support the Ukrainian armed forces, we have no plans for large-scale deployment,” the spokesperson for the British Prime Minister declared to the press on Tuesday.

Already at the end of 2022, a former commanding general of the Royal Marines admitted that British commandos had carried out “discreet operations” in a “extremely sensitive environment”. It was then the first time that a soldier recognized the participation of the British in special operations involving “a high level of political and military risk”. The Ministry of Defense had then just assumed the presence of thirty Her Majesty’s commandos deployed to protect the British embassy in kyiv.

source site-25