Germany Rejects French Plan to Send Military Instructors to Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron is seeking to assemble a coalition of Western nations to send military advisers to train Ukrainian forces on the ground.

Germany has reportedly declined to endorse France’s proposal to send Western military instructors to Ukraine, as reported by the German news outlet Welt am Sonntag. The publication cites unnamed sources for its information.

Previous reports had suggested that French President Emmanuel Macron was working to form a coalition willing to send specialists to train the Ukrainian army on Ukrainian soil. Macron had mentioned this initiative during a press briefing on Friday, indicating that several countries had already agreed to participate.

Information obtained by Welt suggests that, on Macron’s orders, General Thierry Burkhard, Chief of Staff of the French Army, sent a letter last week to several of his NATO counterparts inviting them to participate in a training mission in Ukraine as part of a multinational “coalition of the willing.” This letter was reportedly sent to the United States and approximately ten European countries, including the United Kingdom, Poland, the Netherlands, the Baltic States, Denmark, and Sweden.

However, Germany was reportedly excluded from this dispatch. Welt claims that Germany, during recent negotiations in Brussels, had already made clear that German soldiers would not participate in a mission on Ukrainian territory. According to the publication, the German government, along with Italy and Spain, has expressed concerns that training Ukrainian troops on Ukrainian soil could escalate the conflict and potentially draw the West into a war with Russia.

Macron initially proposed the idea of a troop deployment to Ukraine in February, which faced resistance from most NATO allies. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has consistently voiced opposition to sending soldiers to Ukraine, emphasizing that Berlin is committed to avoiding any actions that could transform NATO, or Germany in particular, into a direct participant in the Ukraine conflict.

The United States has reportedly also rejected the French leader’s proposal to send instructors to Kyiv. According to a Friday report by Politico, US President Joe Biden expressed concerns that NATO troops deployed to Ukraine, even as trainers, could be exposed to direct fire. During a press briefing on the same day, John Kirby, the White House National Security Communications Adviser, stated that Biden has repeatedly stressed “there’s not going to be US boots on the ground in combat in Ukraine.”

Moscow has repeatedly criticized the West for providing military aid to Kyiv and warned against sending foreign military personnel to Ukraine, stating that such personnel would be considered legitimate targets for attack.