Cynical Lavrov: French Soldiers in Ukraine Are Valid Targets

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jun.05 - 2024 9:24 AM CET

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Photo: Hussein Eddeb / Shutterstock.com
Photo: Hussein Eddeb / Shutterstock.com
France is reportedly preparing to send military instructors to Ukraine, a move that Russia claims will make these troops legitimate targets.

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French military instructors are on the verge of being deployed to Ukraine to train the Ukrainian military, according to Ukrainian General Oleksandr Syrskyi.

This decision has sparked controversy, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has declared these instructors will be legitimate targets once they arrive.

French Instructors in Russia’s Crosshairs

The decision for French military instructors to enter Ukraine comes amid heightened tensions.

General Oleksandr Syrskyi confirmed that Kyiv has approved the necessary documents for their arrival.

However, this move has provoked a stern response from Russia.

“When it comes to the French instructors, I believe they are already on Ukrainian territory,” Lavrov stated, according to the Associated Press (AP).

He emphasized that regardless of their official status, these instructors would be considered valid targets by Russian forces.

No Immunity for Trainers

Echoing Lavrov's sentiments, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov underscored that any military instructors aiding the Ukrainian forces would not be granted immunity.

“It doesn't matter if they are French or not, instructors training Kyiv’s troops do not have any form of immunity,” Peskov said.

France has yet to officially confirm the deployment of military personnel to Ukraine. President Emmanuel Macron has refrained from commenting on what he termed “rumors or potential decisions.”

However, he did mention that he plans to elaborate on France’s support during the 80th anniversary of D-Day celebrations later this week.

Advanced Training Plans

The potential deployment of French instructors was first reported by Reuters, citing three anonymous diplomatic sources. The report suggested that France is poised to send military trainers to provide “technical expertise for combat aircraft to be supplied by the West” and to maintain equipment. According to these sources, the plans are in an advanced stage.

Russia had previously warned that any French troops entering the conflict zone would be targeted.

In May, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated,

“If the French appear in the conflict zone, they will inevitably become targets for the Russian armed forces. It seems to me that Paris already has evidence of this.”

The international community is closely watching how this situation unfolds, as the involvement of NATO member troops could further escalate the conflict.

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