Russian Official Says France Is Preparing to Deploy 2,000 Troops to Ukraine

by State Brief

Less than a week after Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country is prepared to use nuclear weapons in the event of a threat to “the existence of the Russian state, our sovereignty and independence,” a top Russian leader says that France is mobilizing fighters to send to Ukraine.

Sergey Naryshkin, Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), said his agency has information that France is preparing a military contingent of 2,000 troops to be sent to Ukraine to join the fight against Russia.

“The current leadership of the country [France] does not care about the deaths of ordinary French people or about the concerns of the generals,” Naryshkin said in a statement provided to Russian state media outlet TASS News Agency. “According to information coming to the Russian SVR, a contingent to be sent to Ukraine is already being prepared. Initially, it will include around 2,000 troops.”

Naryshkin reportedly said that the French military fears that such a large group cannot be deployed to Ukraine without being noticed by Moscow.

“It will thus become a legitimate priority target for attacks by the Russian armed forces. This means that it will suffer the fate of all the French who have ever come to the Russian world with a sword,” he added.

France’s defense ministry responded to the allegation of a possible troop deployment by categorizing Naryshkin’s comments as disinformation and irresponsible.

“The manoeuvre orchestrated by Sergei Naryshkin, Director of Russian Foreign Intelligence, once again illustrates Russia’s systematic use of disinformation,” the defense ministry said in a statement. “We consider this type of provocation irresponsible.”

In February, French President Emmanuel Macron raised eyebrows globally after refusing to rule out any option in the conflict, including sending troops.

Last week, however, France’s Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu walked those statements back, saying Macron’s remarks were taken out of context.

“There were hypotheses clearly put on the table but not combat ground troops as may have been said here or there,” Lecornu said, adding that his country would not be a “co-belligerent” in the conflict.

Russia responded to France’s statement by suggesting Macron will pay a political price for lying to his citizens about the numbers of French troops who have already been killed in Ukraine.

“Sooner or later, Macron will have to reveal the ugly truth, but he will try to delay the ‘confessions’ as long as possible. As they say in the Elysee Palace, the number of French killed ‘has already crossed a psychologically significant threshold.’ The disclosure of such sensitive data could provoke citizens to protest, especially against the background of farmers’ massive anti-government campaigns across the country,” Naryshkin said.

“It has been registered that ‘dozens of French citizens’ were killed when Russian forces destroyed a temporary deployment facility for foreigners near Kharkov on 17 January alone. Since then, ‘such attacks have become the norm in the Ukrainian conflict.’ As the French Ministry of Defense unofficially admits, the country has not suffered similar losses abroad since the Algerian war in the second half of the 20th century,” he added.

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