Fact Check: France Is NOT Sending 2,000 Soldiers To Fight In Ukraine In March 2024

Fact Check

  • by: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: France Is NOT Sending 2,000 Soldiers To Fight In Ukraine In March 2024 Refuted

Is France preparing to send the first military contingent consisting of 2,000 soldiers to fight in Ukraine, according to data disclosed by Russian intelligence? No, that's not true: The French Ministry of the Armed Forces officially denied this claim and called it part of Russia's "systematic use of mass disinformation."

The claim originated from a video (archived here) posted on TikTok by user @bobbydtiktok on March 19, 2024, under the title (translated from Romanian to English by Lead Stories staff): "2,000 French soldiers are going to Ukraine!"

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

1.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Thu Mar 21 11:36:34 2024 UTC)

The man in the video says (as translated): "Macron just announced that 2,000 French soldiers will be sent to Ukraine, a first contingent."

On the same day, in another TikTok video (archived here), the user presents screenshots of two posts on X as evidence supporting this claim (archived here and here, screenshots below). Both mention that Sergey Naryshkin, the director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, stated that France is preparing a contingent for deployment to Ukraine, initially comprising about 2,000 soldiers.

This is what the posts looked like on X at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-03-22 at 13.11.01.png

(Source: X screenshot taken on Fri Mar 22 11:11:01 2024 UTC)

Screenshot 2024-03-22 at 13.10.47.png

(Source: X screenshot taken on Fri Mar 22 11:11:12 2024 UTC)

The claims were published on March 19, 2024, by Russian state news agency TASS (archived here). TASS also quoted Naryshkin as saying that the French military "fears that such a large military unit cannot be transferred and stationed in Ukraine unnoticed" and that it will "become a legitimate priority target for attacks by the Russian armed forces."

The French Ministry of the Armed Forces quickly denied these comments in a post on X on March 19, 2024 (archived here), saying that Naryshkin's statement (translated from French to English by Lead Stories staff) "is part of a systematic use of mass disinformation widely used by Russia. ... We call for the greatest vigilance in order to avoid any exploitation by this type of maneuver."

French publications such as TF1, Le Figaro and Le Parisien (archived here, here and here) quoted this similar statement from the Ministry of the Armed Forces sent to the media (as translated):

The maneuver orchestrated by Sergey Naryshkin, Director of Russian Foreign Intelligence, once again illustrates Russia's systematic use of disinformation. We consider this type of provocation irresponsible.

In late February 2024, French President Emmanuel Macron stated that while there was no consensus within the Western nations to officially deploy ground troops to Ukraine, no options should be ruled out in terms of response dynamics (archived here). Macron's remarks faced rejection from multiple NATO and EU states. This claim was previously also debunked by Lead Stories.

In an interview with French TV channel TF1 on March 14, 2024 (archived here), Macron said that France "will never lead an offensive." He stated that France, as a force for peace, would never initiate actions.


  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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