“Perhaps an additional step will have to be taken,” warns the Chief of Staff of the Army

However, Pierre Schill does not think that at this stage, Emmanuel Macron plans to send troops to the front line, “in the first sense of the term”.


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Pierre Schill, chief of staff of the Army, during a visit to French soldiers deployed in Romania with NATO, May 23, 2022. (DIDIER LAURAS / AFP)

“Perhaps an additional step will have to be taken, in order to further demonstrate our desire to support the Ukrainians”, advances Wednesday April 3 on France Culture Pierre Schill, chief of staff of the Army, concerning the hypothesis of sending Western troops to Ukraine. On several occasions in recent weeks, Emmanuel Macron has affirmed not to exclude this possibility, specifying that there was no “no limit” neither “Red line” in support of France in kyiv.

Pierre Schill does not consider that this amounts to “consider going to fight in the first sense of the term, on the front line”. “I am certain that this is not what the President of the Republic said at this stage”, affirms the Chief of Staff of the Army. Pierre Schill recalls that France is part of NATO and that in this context, “Today there is no prospect that our country could be attacked by Russia without NATO as a whole being attacked”.

“We are not alone against Russia”

“We are not alone against Russia”, he maintains. The Chief of Staff of the Army also insists on the “nuclear deterrent” with which France is endowed and which “is intended to protect us from threats against our vital interests”. He believes that currently “non-vital interests can be directly threatened” as well as through the alliances of France. But Pierre Schill highlights the “defense agreements”adding that the French armies are “tailored today to the extent of this general strategy”.

If he recognizes that “the French army will never be completely ready”the Chief of Staff of the Army maintains that no “army will not be ready to enter directly into a conflict.” On the other hand, he is categorical: “If unfortunately there is an explosion worldwide, or in Europe, French soldiers will respond and defend their country with all their strength,” assures Pierre Schill. He believes that the army will be able to be more ready in “four or five years”thanks to the 2024-2023 military programming law, which notably provides for an increase in the budget of the Ministry of the Armed Forces. “We will be more ready because we will have reconstituted, or constituted, stocks of ammunition (…) and acquired equipment”he explains.

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