Author: Tornike Peikrishvili



On March 15, 2024, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, gave a live interview to journalists from local TV stations TF1 and France 2. The primary topics discussed were the current security situation in Europe, the outcomes of the pro-Ukraine conference held in Paris, relations with Moscow, and the need for a unified effort by allies to ensure Ukraine’s victory. This blog will discuss the main messages conveyed during the interview.

Red lines and self-limitations

The French President, Emmanuel Macron, discussed the annexation of Crimea and drew a historical parallel to explain the political moves in the ongoing war. France and Germany played a central role in promoting peace processes between Russia and Ukraine at the time, following Russia’s initial aggression. Indeed, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were the main mediators during the Minsk peace negotiations. The only face-to-face meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin took place on December 9, 2019, during the negotiations in the capital of Belarus.

On February 24, 2022, President Putin decided to launch a full-scale attack on Ukraine, despite repeated warnings from the West since 2014 to avoid escalation. French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement, which is the main focus of the interview, is significant: Specifically, that France and the Western coalition share a common goal to prevent Russia from winning the ongoing war. To achieve this goal, Official Paris, as well as members of the European Union and NATO coalition, are providing financial and arms support to Kyiv.

The President says he considers imposing self-limitations “wrong,” and describes the conflict as an “existential war” impacting the country’s national defense and endangering the security architecture of continental Europe. Other leaders who previously ruled out sending tanks, missiles and warplanes, and who imposed self-limitations, are now systematically sending military aid. In these words, one can clearly discern the desire for top officials not to impose restrictions and red lines on themselves, especially when the initiator of the conflict is waging a full-scale war without barriers.

Arrows towards Russia

The TV hosts ask the President of France if he is ready to talk to Putin. Macron replies that he talked to Putin for hundreds of hours before February 2022 about avoiding war and negotiating peace. Still, the Russian President had gone ahead and invaded Ukraine. According to the leader of the Fifth Republic, the Russian regime would be solely responsible for all possible developments and events, as the allies would never initiate an offensive war. France is a peaceful power, but must be prepared for other developments, exhibit courage, and possess the necessary resources for defense, he says. The recent activation of the Kremlin against France is significant, seeing the number of targeted cyberattacks on government agencies increasing.

Another notable circumstance then arises in the interview. When asked by the journalist whether Russia is an enemy, Macron responds that it is an “adversary,” suggesting that it may escalate to enemy status if the conflict intensifies in the future and France becomes involved. Despite the firm rhetoric, Macron deliberately avoids labeling Russia as an enemy.

The conference in support of Ukraine

During his interview, Emmanuel Macron demonstrates his understanding of the situation by referencing Ukraine’s failed counterattack, noting that the limited military capabilities of Ukraine were evident when compared to the extensive capabilities of the aggressor. This was highlighted when the Russians fired ten shells compared to the one fired by the Ukrainians. The pressure from Moscow on Ukraine has been increasing by the day, making the situation even more difficult for the Ukrainian army.

At a conference held in Paris on February 26th in support of Ukraine, the allies decided to increase their aid. This aid includes industrial cooperation to produce missiles, training support, and the delivery of medium and long-range missiles. The search for ammunition is global, and Czech President Petr Pavel, who has a leading role in this case, is fully supported by Official Paris. Pavel sought to purchase 800,000 shells outside the European Union, and member states of the Union are also ready to buy ammunition in various parts of the world.

Prior to conferment on February 16, the Élysée Palace released a bilateral cooperation agreement signed between France and Ukraine. The document aims to strengthen cooperation, and reflects France’s long-term commitments to Ukraine. It prioritizes collaboration in the military, political, financial, and humanitarian fields.

Macron had made statements prior to his interview about potentially sending French troops to Ukraine, announced shortly before the conference. He says he believes that, depending on the progress of the war, France and other states should be prepared to send troops. However, after the discussion in Paris, there is as yet no consensus among the leaders of the states regarding the need to do so. Macron notes that nothing should be ruled out in the future. The White House responded to the statements made at the conference, stating that the United States and the North Atlantic Alliance have no intention of sending troops to Ukraine.

The Security of France and Europe

According to Macron, France is operating within a war economy. Prior to the conflict, France lacked a defense industry suited to high-intensity conflicts. Since February 2022, Macron’s policy for the entire French defense industry has been to advocate for an increase in the number of missiles deployed to the front lines. Additionally, there is a focus on ramping up the production of CAESAR self-propelled howitzers, which will be fully transferred to Kyiv. Macron has not ruled out the possibility of sending French instructors.

In 2024, France’s military budget has surged to 47.2 billion euros, enabling Paris to meet the NATO standard of allocating 2% of GDP for defense spending. The President justifies the rise in expenses by citing commitments to European peace. However, according to statistical data from the Kiel Institute’s support to Ukraine, updated on February 16, 2024, France ranks 14th as a contributor, with 1.9 billion euros. In comparison, Germany holds the 2nd position with 22 billion euros. Considering the size of the French economy, these figures can appear less favorable.

Macron says he comprehends fully the potential scenario that could imperil Europe in the event of Russia’s triumph. He asserts that should Putin prevail in this conflict, Europe’s credibility would suffer a severe blow. The effective execution of his strategy entails disrupting the peace of Poland, the Baltic states, Romania, Bulgaria, and other nations. A pragmatic approach is essential, he says. Coalition members must stand prepared to counter any aggressive actions taken by the belligerent regime. Should the aggressor seek to escalate the conflict and bring it into Europe, he alone bears full responsibility.

The safety of Europe and the French citizens is on the line, the President notes. Without peace in Ukraine, there can be no security. However, peace does not mean surrender. Refusing support does not necessarily mean avoiding armed conflict, but rather it means adopting a position of defeat. On the other hand, the strategic choice is to maintain European unity and work towards containing the Kremlin.


In conclusion, it must be acknowledged that the messages and assertiveness of the French President concerning assistance to Ukraine deserve positive evaluation. Despite ranking 14th in total support, the Fifth Republic’s commitment is notable, especially when compared to the scepticism of most other Western leaders regarding sending troops. A realistic assessment of the situation, the formulation of a military policy tailored to the dynamics of the war, the provision of more substantial assistance, and a firm stance against the aggressor’s actions, will undoubtedly enhance European unity. Macron aims to serve as a bridge between European leaders, seeking to align their positions more closely.

It is anticipated that Official Paris will increase military and financial aid, a fact hinted at by the Head of State. Simultaneously, the President’s vision of rejecting self-imposed limitations calls for greater courage and reinforcement of defense capabilities, as Ukraine’s defeat would weaken Europe’s authority and put several continental states directly at risk. Furthermore, there are explicit indications to state leaders that peace should not be pursued at the expense of surrender, and reluctance to offer additional support signifies the signs of a defeatist.