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French military trainers would be a ‘cible légitime’ in Ukraine: Lavrov

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Ukraine has recently signed paperwork allowing French military instructors to train Ukrainian soldiers. However, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, has warned that any French instructors sent to Ukraine would be considered legitimate targets for Russian armed forces. Lavrov made these remarks during a joint news conference with the Republic of the Congo’s Foreign Minister, Jean Claude Gakosso. Despite the tensions and warnings, there is currently no evidence that French instructors are present in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s top commander confirmed last week that paperwork had been signed to allow French military instructors access to Ukrainian training centers. French President Emmanuel Macron has not commented on these developments, stating that he would provide more information during events to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Macron’s office has also declined to comment on Lavrov’s remarks regarding French instructors in Ukraine.

Lavrov’s visit to Africa comes amidst Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Moscow seeking support from African countries. Lavrov has dismissed the upcoming Ukraine peace conference in Switzerland, stating that it has no meaning and is an attempt to preserve an anti-Russian bloc. Russia, which currently occupies about 18 percent of Ukrainian territory, has not been invited to the conference. Despite this, over 80 delegations have confirmed their attendance, with China announcing that it would not participate.

Lavrov’s tour in Africa includes stops in countries like Guinea, the Republic of the Congo, Burkina Faso, and Chad. In Burkina Faso, he was scheduled to meet with Captain Ibrahim Traore, the country’s leader following a military coup in 2022. This tour highlights Russia’s efforts to strengthen relationships and garner support amid the conflict in Ukraine. Lavrov’s visit to Chad is also expected to further these diplomatic efforts.

In conclusion, the signing of paperwork allowing French instructors to train Ukrainian soldiers has sparked tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Lavrov’s warnings and remarks about French instructors being legitimate targets for Russian armed forces reflect the ongoing conflict and security concerns in the region. Despite this, Ukraine continues to seek support from international allies like France, while Russia attempts to garner support from African countries. The upcoming Ukraine peace conference in Switzerland, which Russia has dismissed, highlights the ongoing diplomatic challenges in resolving the conflict. Lavrov’s tour in Africa further underscores Russia’s diplomatic efforts to strengthen ties and expand its influence in the region amidst the crisis in Ukraine.

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