News   /   Russia   /   France   /   More

Russia warns French forces in Ukraine 'priority, legitimate' target

Ukrainians storm trenches in a French training camp. (Photo by POLITICO)

Russia's foreign intelligence (SVR) top brass said any French military unit sent to Ukraine to help it fight Russia would be a "priority" target for the Russian army.

Sergey Naryshkin’s warned France on Tuesday after Kremlin received information that Paris is preparing to dispatch a contingent of 2,000 troops to Ukraine to fight against Russia.

"It (a French contingent) will become a priority and legitimate target for attacks by the Russian Armed Forces. This means that the fate of all Frenchmen who have ever come to the territory of the Russian world with a sword would await it," sexagenarian Naryshkin was quoted as saying.

"The current leadership of the country (France) does not care about the deaths of ordinary French people or about the concerns of the generals.”

“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," he added.

According to the Naryshkin, the French military "fears that such a large military unit cannot be transferred and stationed in Ukraine unnoticed."

His comments come after French president Emmanuel Macron said last month he would not rule out dispatching ground troops to help Ukraine fight Russia.

He claimed that Macron is concealing the actual number of French soldiers who have lost their lives in Ukraine due to concerns over potential widespread demonstrations in France.

"The number of French dead 'has already exceeded a psychologically significant threshold.' The release of such sensitive data can provoke citizens to protest, especially against the background of mass anti-government protests by farmers across the country," he said.

"Sooner or later, Macron will have to reveal the ugly truth, but he will strive to delay the confessions as much as possible.”

Naryshkin argued that French military leadership "fears discontent" among active mid-level officers.

"Among the dead, there are 'disproportionately many' of them, and already at the current stage there are problems with finding 'volunteers' for rotation and 'replacing those who have dropped out' in the Ukrainian theater of military operations," he said.

Ties between France and Russia have further deteriorated in recent weeks after Paris signed a bilateral security accord with Ukraine and vowed to send more long-range cruise missiles.

President Emmanuel Macron has not ruled out that European troops may one day have to go to Ukraine, saying Moscow must be defeated.

Earlier this year, Russian lawmakers adopted a resolution condemning French mercenaries in Ukraine.

'Paris ready for everything'

The French army chief of staff, Pierre Schill said France “is ready” to face whatever developments unfold internationally and is prepared for the “toughest engagements” to protect itself.

The French army "is ready", Schill wrote in an article published on Tuesday on French daily Le Monde.

"However the international situation may evolve, French people can be certain that their soldiers stand ready to respond," he said.

He said a display of French military capabilities would help to "deter any attack on France."

"To protect itself from any attack and to defend its interests, the French army is preparing for even the toughest engagements," he said.

"The sources of crisis are multiplying and carry with them risks of spiraling or extending," he added.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku