French General Says Army Is Preparing for ‘Toughest Engagements’

Russian intelligence says it has information that shows France is considering sending 2,000 troops to Ukraine

The head of France’s ground forces said in an op-ed published on Tuesday that the French Army is preparing for the “toughest engagements” amid talk from President Emmanuel Macron about sending troops to Ukraine.

“To guard against aggression and defend its interests, the French army is preparing for the toughest engagements,” Gen. Pierre Schill, chief of the French Army Staff, wrote in Le Monde.

Schill said that France would be able to commit 20,000 soldiers to an allied coalition within 30 days and added that the country could command a “corps of up to 60,000 men in coalition, by combining a French division and national capabilities at the top end of the military spectrum with one or more allied divisions.”

He closed the op-ed by warning that the French military was “ready” for any situation. “Whatever the evolution of the international situation, the French can rest assured: Their soldiers will be there,” Schill wrote.

A few days earlier, Macron said Western ground operations inside Ukraine may be necessary “at some point.” Since last month, the French leader has repeatedly stated that NATO shouldn’t rule out sending troops to Ukraine despite the risk of a direct war with Russia quickly turning nuclear.

On Tuesday, the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergey Naryshkin, said he had information that France was considering sending 2,000 troops to Ukraine.

“According to information coming to the Russian SVR, a contingent to be sent to Ukraine is already being prepared. Initially, it will include around 2,000 troops,” he said. “It will thus become a legitimate priority target for attacks by the Russian armed forces.”

Macron’s bellicose rhetoric has drawn attention to the fact that there are already a small number of NATO special operations forces inside Ukraine, but he appears to be talking about a larger combat deployment. The Discord leaks revealed last year that 97 NATO special operators were in Ukraine, including 15 French soldiers, as of March 2023

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.