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Western states consider bilateral deals to send troops to Ukraine – Slovak PM

Western states consider bilateral deals to send troops to Ukraine - Slovak PM

Several Western states are considering a bilateral deal that will enable them send troops to Ukraine, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said on Monday.

Fico, known for his resistance to military assistance to Ukraine and perceived by some as leaning toward Russia, did not provide specific details. Other European leaders refrained from immediate comments on his statements.

The remarks were made ahead of a European leaders’ meeting in Paris scheduled for later on Monday, which Fico is set to attend.

“I will limit myself to say that these theses (in preparation for the Paris meeting) imply a number of NATO and EU member states are considering that they will send their troops to Ukraine on a bilateral basis,” Fico stated during a televised briefing after a meeting of Slovakia’s security council.

Read also: Finland prepares its 22nd military aid package for Ukraine

“I cannot say for what purpose and what they should be doing there,” he added, mentioning that Slovakia, a member of the EU and NATO, would not be deploying soldiers to Ukraine.

While NATO countries have provided substantial military aid to Kyiv and engaged in training Ukrainian forces, NATO leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden, have emphasized the alliance’s intention to avoid direct conflict with Russia, which could escalate into a global conflict. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated on Feb. 14 that “Neither NATO nor NATO allies are party to the conflict.

NATO response to Fico’s statement

NATO had no immediate response to Fico’s statements. Addressing the remarks, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala clarified: “The Czech Republic certainly is not preparing to send any soldiers to Ukraine, nobody has to worry about that.”

Fico expressed concerns about a potential escalation of the conflict in Ukraine and mentioned that he could not disclose certain information to the public.

Around 20 European leaders, including Fico, are expected to convene in Paris on Monday to convey a message of European determination on Ukraine and counter Russia’s narrative suggesting that Russia is poised to prevail in a war now entering its third year, as announced by France.

French President Emmanuel Macron has convened European leaders at the Elysee Palace for a working meeting at short notice due to what his advisers describe as an escalation in Russian aggression over recent weeks.

Fico remarked that convening the meeting indicated the failure of the West’s strategy on Ukraine. Despite acknowledging discomfort with the discussion material, he stated his intention to participate constructively.

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