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IPFS News Link • France

France sends combat troops to Ukraine battlefront

• https://asiatimes.com, By STEPHEN BRYEN

France has sent its first troops officially to Ukraine. They have been deployed in support of the Ukrainian 54th Independent Mechanized Brigade in Slavyansk. The French soldiers are drawn from France's 3rd Infantry Regiment, which is one of the main elements of France's Foreign Legion (Légion étrangère).

In 2022 France had a number of Ukrainians and Russians in the Foreign Legion. They were allowed to leave the Legion and, in the case of the Ukrainians, return to Ukraine to join Ukrainian forces. It isn't clear if the Russians returned home.

The Legion today is run by French officers but the rank and file are all foreigners. Under the curren anonymat (being anonymous) a volunteer who joins the Legion can decide whether to keep his given name or adopt a new one. Legionnaires serve for three year terms, after which they can ask for French citizenship. If a legionnaire is wounded, he is entitled to gain French citizenship without any waiting period. There are no women in the Foreign Legion.

The initial group of French troops numbers around 100. This is just the first tranche of around 1,500 French Foreign Legion soldiers scheduled to arrive in Ukraine.

These troops are being posted directly in a hot combat area and are intended to help the Ukrainians resist Russian advances in Donbas. The first 100 are artillery and surveillance specialists.

For months French President Emanuel Macron has been threatening to send French troops to Ukraine. He has found little or no support from NATO countries outside of support from Poland and the Baltic States. Allegedly the US opposes sending NATO soldiers to Ukraine (other than as advisors).