Home Europe French far-right leader Bardella: No troops or long-range missiles to Ukraine

French far-right leader Bardella: No troops or long-range missiles to Ukraine

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VILLEPINTE, France — Jordan Bardella, the leader of the far-right National Rally, said he would provide ammunition to Ukraine but would not send French troops to the war-torn country nor send long-range missiles if he’s appointed prime minister.

“My position has not changed, and that is to support Ukraine by providing defense equipment, ammunition, operational logistical support and defensive weaponry to enable Ukraine to protect itself to hold the front,” Bardella told reporters Wednesday on the sidelines of the Eurosatory arms show in the suburbs north of Paris.

“Unlike the president [Emmanuel Macron], I am opposed to sending French troops and soldiers to Ukraine,” he said, adding that boots on the ground were “a red line.”

Bardella ruled out sending long-range missiles that could hit Russian territory, according to Reuters.

Paris and Kyiv are finalizing plans to send Western trainers, including French ones, to Ukraine. The plans would likely be jeopardized if the National Rally enters the French government following the snap election Macron called as a response to his party’s massive defeat in EU elections earlier this month. French voters head to the polls on June 30 and July 7.

If opinion polls are correct, the National Rally is set to make sizable gains in the National Assembly, and Bardella could become prime minister if his party secures a majority. As president of the Republic, Macron is the chief of the armed forces, but the prime minister controls the budget.

In recent months, the National Rally has toned down some of its controversial positions on Russia and NATO. The far-right party pulled down from its website its defense manifesto from the 2022 presidential election, which called for deepening diplomatic ties with Moscow and exiting the military alliance’s integrated command.

Bardella was keen to assuage concerns that a victory from his party would weaken France on the global stage. “I don’t intend to weaken France’s voice and commitment on the international stage, and I’ll be extremely respectful of that,” he told reporters, reiterating that his party no longer wants France to pull out of NATO’s integrated command as long as the war in Ukraine is ongoing.

While Bardella condemned the Kremlin’s “violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity,” he added that he wants to “avoid any risk of escalation with Russia, because Russia is a nuclear power, and I am committed to the return of peace and political stability in this region.”

The newly reelected MEP — who visited the booths of the French armed forces ministry, Airbus, KNDS France and Arquus at Eurosatory — also pledged to keep defense spending high. Last summer, the French legislature voted the country’s non-binding seven-year military planning law, which foresees spending €413 billion overall for defense by 2030.

“I want France to be able to continue its rearmament. My ambition is to ensure France’s sovereignty and strategic autonomy, and I will continue the financial efforts set out in the military planning law,” Bardella said.

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