Germany rejects talk of sending troops to Ukraine from Europe, NATO

AFP , Tuesday 27 Feb 2024

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday rejected the idea of European or NATO countries sending troops to Ukraine after French President Emmanuel Macron said the idea could not be ruled out.

Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz,
French President Emmanuel Macron, center, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left, at the Elysee Palace in Paris. More than 20 European heads of state and government and other Western officials are gathering in a show of unity for Ukraine, signaling to Russia that their support for Kyiv isn t wavering as the full-scale invasion grinds into a third year. AP


"What was agreed from the beginning among ourselves and with each other also applies to the future, namely that there will be no soldiers on Ukrainian soil sent there by European states or NATO states," Scholz told journalists.

Neither should soldiers based in those countries "actively participate in war events", he said.

The discussion on this issue at a meeting of Ukraine's backers hosted by Macron on Monday in Paris was "unanimous", Scholz said. "It is important to regularly reassure each other over this."

"The fact there was an understanding on this is, in my view, a very good and very important step forward."

Keeping German soldiers from directly participating in the war between Russia and Ukraine was a "fundamental principle", Scholz had said on Monday, before the meeting in Paris.

"No German soldiers on Ukrainian land and no participation of German soldiers," he said, stressing that "this explicitly includes preventing an escalation into a war between NATO and Russia."

Scholz's position justified a decision not to send long-range Taurus missiles to Ukraine, despite urgent requests from Kyiv for German rockets.

Germany could not copy French and British moves to send such long-range missiles to Ukraine and support the systems' deployment, Scholz said.

"German soldiers must not be linked at any point or place to the targets that this system reaches," he said.

"This is a very long-range weapon, and what the British and French are doing in terms of targeting and supporting targeting cannot be done in Germany," Scholz said.

"In my view, it would be unjustifiable if we were to participate in targeting in the same way," he added.

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