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Finland follows France and raises possibility of deploying troops to Ukraine, says report

Finland follows France and raises possibility of deploying troops to Ukraine, says report
  • Finland's Foreign Minister says the West shouldn't rule out deploying troops against Russia.

  • Elina Valtonen called for Western nations' flexibility in response to the evolving crisis, Politico reported.

  • The potential for troop deployment was met with backlash when similarly addressed by Macron.

Finland's Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen said the West can't rule out the possibility of deploying troops against Russia, Politico reports.

She reaffirmed that Finland's current position is not to send troops imminently but said that NATO needs to consider future trajectories.

"It's important that we not rule everything out for the long term because we never know how serious the situation becomes," Valtonen said, per Politico.

Finland joined NATO in April 2023 and was joined by Sweden this month.

It shares an 832-mile border with northwestern Russia. During World War II it fought against the Soviet Union after Stalin's Red Army invaded.

Valtonen argued that as the conflict persists and Ukraine's defense forces struggle to fend off Russian aggression amid ammunition shortages, the option of troop deployment may become more viable for European countries facing immediate threats from Moscow.

However, she emphasized that she was referring to potential future scenarios, and the current Finnish position is clear. "We are not right now sending any troops and not willing to discuss that," she said.

The Finnish stance echoes recent comments made by French President Emmanuel Macron, who faced backlash for suggesting the possibility of troop deployment.

Delegates at a Paris conference, including representatives of the European Union's 27 member countries last month, did not reach consensus about the question of putting troops on the ground in Ukraine, Macron said, adding that "we cannot exclude anything."

"We will do everything needed so Russia cannot win the war," he said.

French officials emphasized that the operations Macron has in mind are noncombat ones like mine clearances and medical aid, Le Monde reported.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz immediately shot the idea down, and it also drew criticism from British defense sources, per The Telegraph.

However, the fact that the prospect of sending Western or NATO soldiers to support Ukraine's war effort against Russia is now part of the geopolitical conversation represents a dramatic new development.

Putin made one of his most explicit threats of nuclear war

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Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual state of the nation address at the Gostiny Dvor conference centre in central Moscow on February 29, 2024.ALEXANDER NEMENOV via Getty

After Macron's speech, Russian President Vladimir Putin menaced the West with the prospect of a nuclear attack.

Putin alluded to the French president's remarks at the annual state-of-the-nation speech to Russian lawmakers and top officials.

Western nations "must realize that we also have weapons that can hit targets on their territory," Putin said, according to Reuters, adding: "All this really threatens a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons and the destruction of civilization. Don't they get that?"

But Macron repeated his warning against Western powers showing signs of weakness to Russia on Thursday. He again said that sending Western troops into Ukraine shouldn't be ruled out, though he said the current situation doesn't require it, AP reported.

Ukraine is on the defensive

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Swedish soldier in NATO Nordic Response exercisesJonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP

Ukraine has been on the defensive in recent months, with Russia finally capturing the eastern town of Avdiivka and using its advantage of troop numbers and greater weapons supplies to maintain pressure on several frontline positions.

Former US ambassadors to NATO, Ivo Daalder and Kurt Volker, suggested that keeping the option of troop deployment on the table could signal strong support for Ukraine and deter further aggression from Russia, per Politico.

Despite the Biden administration's firm stance against sending US troops to Ukraine, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby stressed on Friday that the decision ultimately lies with individual nations.

Read the original article on Business Insider