French President Emmanuel Macron shocked the world on Feb. 26 by suggesting that Europeans may have to send troops to help Ukraine. Then on May 4, he doubled-down and said French troops would go to Ukraine if Kyiv requested their help. He also described Europe as “mortal” and said that “things can fall apart very quickly” because the US is no longer guarantor of Europe’s security. “I have a clear strategic objective: Russia cannot win in Ukraine,” Macron said.

“If Russia wins in Ukraine, there will be no security in Europe. Who can pretend that Russia will stop there? What security will there be for neighboring countries, Moldova, Romania, Poland, Lithuania and the others?” His clarion call was echoed by the leader of Europe’s other nuclear power, Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who said “if Putin is allowed to succeed in this war of aggression, he will not stop at the Polish border.”


A sudden pivot to panic grips Europeans following America’s weapons delays and as waves of Russian “cannon fodder” are starting to breach the front line. The new realization is that this war is not only about weapons but about manpower. On May 4, controversial military strategist Edward Luttwak wrote: “The arithmetic of this is inescapable: NATO countries will soon have to send soldiers to Ukraine, or else accept catastrophic defeat.”

Constant waves of attacks. LeMonde

Another 1939 moment of truth has arrived for Europe. Ukrainians have borne the brunt and direct confrontation between Russia and NATO members has been avoided thus far, but is becoming unavoidable. The US already has 40,000 troops stationed on behalf of NATO in Europe, but won’t spare more, given its global responsibilities and concerns about the Middle East and China. The European Union has more defense dollars and the same size number of “active” military personnel as Russia (estimated at 1.1 million in Europe versus 1 million in Russia according to Add to that Britain’s sizeable military force. But a unitary fighting force, under NATO, must be forged.


Fortunately, Britain and France have stepped up, but other countries, particularly populous Germany, Italy, and Spain, must mobilize too.

“If Europe cannot provide enough troops, Russia will prevail on the battlefield, and even if diplomacy successfully intervenes to avoid a complete debacle, Russian military power will have victoriously returned to Central Europe,” wrote Luttwak.

“At that point, Western European powers will have to rebuild their armed forces, whether they like it or not, starting with the return of compulsory military service.”

Not everyone shares Luttwak’s pessimism about the war’s outcome, but Ukraine struggles with ammunition shortages, casualties, bombing raids, and its own reluctance for two years to draft young men to replenish its ranks. On the battlefield, it is outnumbered three to one, but Lieutenant General (Ret.) Ben Hodges, former Commander of US Army Europe, believes that Russia cannot win. “Russian forces do not have the capability.” He told Al Jazeera Russia has limited mobility on the ground and lacks the equipment and expertise to move forward.


“That’s why I feel fairly confident that the mission for [Ukrainian] general Oleksandr Syrskyi for the next several months is to stabilize this as much as he can to buy time for Ukraine to grow the size of the army, to rebuild the defense industry of Ukraine, as well as give us time to find more ammunition for them…the army has got to buy time.”

Europeans must mobilize. Russia cannot take on multiple European countries at once, much less start a nuclear war, which is why it was also significant that France’s Macron offered to share his nuclear weapons with NATO. Then Britain’s PM Sunak made a tentative deal with Poland to place its tactical nukes there in future, as Russia did in neighboring Belarus.

Last week, the British also gave Ukraine permission to use its long-range missiles to attack inside Russian territory, and Sunak announced that Britain will transfer 16,000 soldiers to Poland and provide jets to patrol its airspace.


“Poland [like Ukraine] is at the heart of ensuring security throughout Europe. It’s time to end the period of competition and competition between various initiatives for the defense of Europe,” said the Prime Minister.

France also quietly trains hundreds of elite troops in “high intensity” urban warfare who will be sent to Romania in order to patrol and protect the Black Sea area and Odesa, a critically important trade hub. “That’s his [Macron’s] red line because if Odesa is overrun, then 20 percent of Ukraine’s GDP disappears down the tube,” commented a former Lieutenant Colonel in the British Army. Likewise, Norway is doubling the size of its navy and has begun to, along with other European countries, patrol and fortify the Baltic Sea area against Russian incursions or attacks.

What’s interesting is that these escalatory actions dovetail with NATO’s massive war exercise, which has just begun, to practice repelling a hypothetical Russian invasion of a NATO member. Called Steadfast Defender 24, the coordinated counter-defense effort is the largest conducted by NATO since the Cold War ended and will test run Europe’s new defense plans. More than 90,000 soldiers and sailors from its 32 member states will be involved from now until June. Frankly, it’s a small “dress rehearsal” for war against Russia.


Steadfast Defender 24, land, sea, and air exercises

Last month, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and former President of Norway, also proposed a $100 billion, five-year fund to support Ukraine’s military be established by the Organization’s 32 members. “I believe we need a major, multi-year financial commitment to sustain our support. To demonstrate that our support to Ukraine is not short-term and ad hoc, but long-term and predictable. Moscow must understand: They cannot win. And they cannot wait us out,” he said.

Tragically, Putin’s “meat grinder” continues to devastate Ukraine and a Russian counter-attack looms in June to try and conquer the rest of Ukraine. An estimated 500,000 have died or been wounded, mostly Russians, but there remains more than half a million Russian troops and personnel inside Ukraine. Putin has escalated air attacks and some have crossed into Polish, Romanian, and Moldovan airspace or landed close to their borders. This led Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk to declare last week that Europe was now in a “pre-war era” and that NATO members are considering counter-attacks against Russian missiles, jets, and drones.


The Kremlin responds with nuclear threats and has recently begun claiming that NATO is already in “direct confrontation” with Russia. In February, after Macron’s initial remarks, Putin warned against sending NATO troops to Ukraine. Last month, following a leak about French troops training to go into Ukraine, the director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Sergey Naryshkin said that these 2,000 French troops being prepared will be a priority target for attacks by Russian armed forces. “This means that they will suffer the fate of all the French who have ever come to the Russian world with a sword,” he said.

The meat grinder. Euronews

Last week, Poland boldly stated that it was “ready” to host NATO nuclear weapons should the alliance move to reinforce its eastern flank bordering Russia. “If our allies decide to deploy nuclear weapons as part of nuclear sharing also on our territory to strengthen the security of NATO’s eastern flank, we are ready for it,” said President Andrzej Duda.

Given the heightening rhetoric, it’s likely that the deployment of tens of thousands of European troops as part of the Steadfast Defender 24 war exercise won’t be a temporary exercise. It will be the stage one preparation for an eventual direct conflict with Russia. The participating 90,000 to 120,000 NATO troops will be strategically scattered across the continent by June, when Putin is supposed to unleash his counter-offensive. And they will likely remain, guarding trade and energy hubs, essential infrastructure, and patrolling the borders of Ukraine, Belarus and Transnistria (a breakaway region in Moldova occupied by Russian forces). Some will clandestinely slip into Ukraine to fight, advise, or undertake tasks in order to free up more Ukrainian troops for combat.

This is 1939 all over again. Storm clouds gather and a shadow European Armed Force is being created to save Ukraine and Europe from Vladimir Putin.

The views expressed in this opinion article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post.

Reprinted from [email protected] – Diane Francis on America and the World

See the original here.

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Comments (11)
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Norway is a monarchy. Stoltenberg was president of something but not Norway.
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My what a worn out 'rump loving' joke you are becoming on these forums MRGA troll 'jack'. 

Criminal putinrump says that if elected he will not give Ukraine a penny. He wants to cede it to his buddy putin.

 He states Putin is a "Genius" and its "Wonderful" how he invaded Ukraine. He wants him to attack NATO coutires as well.

Yes it is hard to believe. Putin serving republicans in the US House now outnumber the US patriotic Republicans. Still those 101 remaining non MRGA Republicans bravely defied putinrump and instead voted to recently pass the desperately needed Ukrainian Aid. 

 Sadly disobeying traitor putinrump will mean they are unlikely to receive campaign funds from the Republican National Commitee (RNC), whose putinrump crony lead Whatley (and daughter in law Lara Trump) now controls its funding (assuming its not used up paying putinrump's legal fees for his 91 felonies). 

Did you know that a few weeks back Whatley outrageously said Ukraine was a USA enemy? Revealingly, he left Russia off his list.

Fortunately beyond finally getting this additional US aid package to Ukraine passed, President Biden has also increased US oil output to record levels (500K more barrels a day then putinrump during his term) and that's also depriving putin of war revenue

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Bill Clinton sealed a pact with Ukraine in the 1990's guaranteeing Ukraine security from Russia for giving up their nuclear weapons. President Zero failed to honor that pact. Now Joe BRIBEn is refusing to honor that pact.
And you idiots bad mouth President-elect Trump.
The Kyiv Post comment threads are a shit hole of butt ignorant arrogant idiots. Like you John the LOON from Canada.
Stop Putin
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Let’s not forget who we are dealing with: Putin, a rubber stamped mafia leader with close ties with North Korea and Iran and who caused Navalny and a long line of critics to meet an early death.
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Francis is wrong that NATO is escalating this conflict with all the preparations she describes in this article. Putin is the aggressor. He has claimed to have annexed more Ukrainian territory. He's blown up a major Ukrainian dam. He's using CS and one other toxic gas now. He's indiscriminately bombing Ukrainian infrastructure. He put together an assassin squad to murder Zelensky. Who knows how many Ukrainian children he's captured.

NATO is finally coming to its senses. Putin has declared war on the west. He's put his economy on a war footing. NATO hasn't done that yet but needs to do it and quickly. It was logical that Poland would seek nukes of its own if we let Ukraine quit or be defeated. If he wins he dragoons the most battle tested army in Europe into his own and moves on Moldova, the Baltics and Poland. He could do that sooner because he will Ukrainian troops and their drone technology. He will have N. Korean artillery shells and Chinese chips for his missiles. If we don't stop him, Iran goes for nukes and so do the Saudis in response. If we don't stop him, Xi knows we're all talk about defending liberal democracy. Etc etc.

This is all down to Putin.
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Appears MRGA troll 'jack' is pilfering my name again below. I have reduced him to only babbling two terms.

Great Article! The west gets the significance of this war and is increasingly ramping up. Ukraine will be victorious.

I suspect allied citizens and leadership have also become fed up with two decades of putin's hybrid war attempts to gut our societies without firing a bullet.

Vladolf Putler has crossed the line with his latest European invasion. In revealing russia's strategic & military shortcomings, Ukraine's allies have come to the conclusion this war presents a clear legal opportunity to payback russia for its past crimes, and incent russian's to finally dispose of their malfeasant and oppressive criminal regime.

Had russians not allowed a thug leader to invade Ukraine, russians possibly would have continued to prosper from putin's predecessors efforts to peacefully work with the west. Now they reap the repercussions of their KGB leadership choice. International isolation, most heavily sanctioned nation in world, shrinking demographics and economy, crumbling currency all leading towards another probable russia collapse.

What a shock russian's will be in for when putins propaganda crumbles. What multigenerational shame they will need to live down.

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@John, I don’t know about this multigenerational shame. Russia co-started WWII, but has managed over the past 70 years to portray itself as the greatest victim of it. (While they were occupying half of Europe.)
Whatever suffering they are causing to others, they will always see themselves as victims. It is already build into their current narrative.

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@Mouse, You are probably right. I don't actually interact with any russians other than those that troll media forums. For sure those ones sound like you indicate. I've been defaulting to the perspective that its putin's thug leadership and criminal regime and MRGA duped minions that are sowing evil.... the rest further removed form the war being just naive given the tightly controlled information russians have access to.

For those non MRGA russians that might read these comments I was hoping some education, guilt and maybe riot promoting text might make these at least do something helpful to Ukraines' cause.

I do have some older German relatives via marriage and they still harbour shame for a war started by that nation's tyrant 70+ years ago. Maybe its too late (or too early) in their evolution for russians to self reflect? At any rate, I do what I can.

Thanks for your constant Ukraine supportive efforts on these forums. I find your feedback insightful.

Hates pooo-tin
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Yes it is 1939 .... again. Yet--->
1. There's more than 10,000 nukes in various arsenals today... this a widely conserative figure. pooo-tin might well hit a mteteore remote region of France or UK... enetrying to elict "chamberlain (nevel)" in the population.
2. IMO rooo-skeeEDs r just throwing trash cannon folder bodies to wear down these Ukrainian heroes
3. usa anti-war AKA piles of chit "gop" ... if they win Nov '24 they'll slide completely away from DEMOCRACY
4. Then we are all FUCKED
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Good article, people need to wake up. WW3 is here and if you do not believe it then you are no different than Chamberlain.... Putin will push for WW3, he has told us this for years. Putin wants all former lands occupied by Russia to be back under Russian control, ALL! whether they be Finland, Ukriane, the Baltics, no matter where. Putin fully believes the USA and West are very weak and so far he has been correct.

The US is on the verge of complete chaos with its Russian agent working to become President again! The end of 2024 will see an insurrection and possibly a civil war in the US if trump loses.

Coach John
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@GregC, I wouldn't worry about the U.S. devolving into a civil war if Trump loses this November. They took their shot on 6 Jan 2021 and missed. Their 'tip of the spear' fighters were cleared out of the Capitol in less than half a day and are now languishing in prison. Trump has yelled, begged, and beseeched they show up in support outside of his NY courtroom. At last count two showed up. At his rallies if you look at his audience in front of him (not the people behind him) you will see a gaggle of 50-70 year old loonies waving their flags for a little while before they trudge home to their reclining chairs and remote controls. Trump is done.
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Unlike WWII, NATO is slowly ramping up its industrial base to increase production of basic things such as artillery shells and bullets. It's happening in the US as well. We can expect that by the time a catastrophe occurs (i.e., Russian forcing a NATO ally to invoke Article 5), the only missing element will be and equivalent number of troops. But there will certainly be a large foundation of highly trained soldiers and pilots ready to do what's necessary to defend NATO.
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Mrga, putinrump, mrga, putinrump, mrga, putinrump, mrga, putinrump, mrga.
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West is not at war with Russia...ask the people.Its not going to happen.Politicians leaves in other world

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@Chris, ask the people? 😁😁😁