Macron pushes for coalition to train Ukrainian soldiers amidst German reluctance

French President Emmanuel Macron is planning to form a coalition of countries to send Western military instructors to Ukraine, reports Welt am Sonntag, citing diplomatic sources in Brussels. However, Germany remains on the sidelines of this initiative.

Last week, Chief of the General Staff of the French Armed Forces Thierry Burkhard sent a letter to the governments of the United States and several European countries inviting them to participate in a training mission in Ukraine as part of a multinational "coalition of the willing". According to Welt am Sonntag, the invitees included the United Kingdom, Poland, the Netherlands, the Baltic states, Denmark, and Sweden.

Notably, France did not extend an invitation to the German federal government - no invitation was sent to Berlin. In recent weeks, German authorities have repeatedly indicated that German soldiers would not participate in a training mission for preparing Ukrainian soldiers. Similarly, the White House had also signalled its reluctance to participate, but the invitation was still sent to Washington, notes Welt am Sonntag.

Germany, Italy, and Spain oppose sending military instructors to Ukraine

Citing diplomats in Brussels, the publication notes that Macron plans to implement this initiative under the aegis of the already existing EU training mission in Ukraine (EUMAM). This would require a revision of the mission's mandate, but according to Welt, this is feasible: the mission is due for review this summer and will need to be extended in November. Nevertheless, resistance to Paris’s ideas persists in Brussels. Most EU countries allegedly oppose participating in a mission on Ukrainian territory.

Governments in Germany, Italy, and Spain are concerned that training Ukrainian soldiers within the country, where active combat is ongoing, could pose a significant risk of escalation and drag Western countries into the war between Russia and Ukraine. Hungary, which has repeatedly delayed EU assistance to Ukraine and opposed sanctions against Russia, similarly argued during a late May EU defence ministers meeting that Ukraine "no longer had realistic chances" of winning the war.

However, according to Welt am Sonntag, some EU diplomatic circles believe there are compelling military reasons to train Ukrainian soldiers within their own country. Such training would be better tailored to the Ukrainian Armed Forces' needs, negating the necessity for soldiers to leave their homeland for instruction.

President Macron is among the first Western leaders to declare that Ukraine should have the right to attack military targets within Russia using provided weaponry. Furthermore, Macron has repeatedly raised the issue of potentially sending Western military instructors to Ukraine, which has been defending itself against a full-scale Russian military aggression for more than two years.

  War in Ukraine, Macron, France, Germany