Russia warns France: Deployment of troops to Ukraine could spell disaster – Times of India

NEW DELHI: In a stark warning issued by Russian defense minister Sergey Shoigu to his French counterpart, Sebastien Lecornu, Russia has cautioned that the deployment of French soldiers to Ukraine could spell disaster for France. This rare communication, marking the first conversation between the defense chiefs since October 2022, underscored the potential repercussions for Paris should it decide to escalate its military involvement in Ukraine.
During the hour-long phone call, Shoigu emphasized that France “will create problems for itself” if it proceeds with sending troops to the conflict zone.This comes amidst discussions within France regarding the extent of its military support to Ukraine. President Emmanuel Macron has previously indicated that “all options are possible,” including the deployment of Nato forces, though he clarified that no such plans are currently in place. Suggestions have been made about sending demining and other non-combat personnel, but nothing concrete has been decided, a Russia Today report said.
Moscow’s stance remains firm, viewing any Western military presence or foreign-supplied weapons systems on Ukrainian soil as legitimate targets. The Kremlin has warned that such actions could lead to “irreparable consequences,” marking a significant escalation in the conflict.
The conversation between Shoigu and Lecornu also touched on the potential for restarting peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry noted a “readiness for dialogue on Ukraine,” mentioning the Istanbul peace initiative as a possible starting point for discussions. However, it criticized the idea of a Swiss-hosted summit as “useless without Russia’s participation.”
On the other hand, the French Defense Ministry highlighted France’s continued commitment to supporting Ukraine “as long and as intensely as necessary” in its fight for freedom and sovereignty. This pledge aims to restore peace and security to the European continent, the RT report said.
Despite these discussions, a source close to Lecornu denied to AFP that the minister had engaged in talks regarding potential peace negotiations, stating that “France neither accepted nor proposed anything of the sort.”
As the conflict continues, meaningful peace talks between Russia and Ukraine remain elusive, with both sides accusing each other of making unrealistic demands. The dialogue between Russia and France represents a complex interplay of military caution, diplomatic initiatives, and ongoing support for Ukraine amid one of Europe’s most pressing security crises.
(With inputs from agencies)

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