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Macron addresses the French on the issues of support for Ukraine

Emmanuel Macron will explain himself Thursday evening to the French on the issues of support à Ukraine, after its controversial comments on the possible sending of Western soldiers, in the face of a Russia accused of being increasingly “threatensçante" in Europe.

Less than three months before the European elections, his interview on “20H” on TF1 and France 2 will also de facto mark his entry into the campaign, after his camp's first meeting on Saturday in Lille.< /p>

He will speak in the wake of the first major European debate, on Public Senate, with all the heads of the list except the favorite Jordan Bardella, represented on behalf of the National Rally by Thierry Mariani, an MEP known to be close to Moscow.

The presidential camp intends in particular to focus its campaign on support for Ukraine, accusing the RN, well ahead in the polls, and La France insoumise of maintaining pro-Russian positions.

“The president will report on the situation in an educational manner”, summarizes a close friend. “It is legitimate and natural that he can address the French (…) to tell them, eye to eye, what the state of the situation is and how to organize things in the weeks to come,” he adds.

The National Assembly and the Senate largely approved this week the bilateral security agreement signed with Kiev, but the debates in Parliament revealed divisions far from this apparent consensus on support for Ukraine.

– “Strategic ambiguity” –

The head of state is especially expected on his declarations regarding the possible sending of troops in Ukraine, which were not only denounced by his opponents in France but also sowed disorder in a large part of Europe, even if he stressed that no consensus existed “at this stage” among the allies.

Emmanuel Macron is going to Berlin on Friday to try to ease tensions, fueled in particular by these declarations, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, on the occasion a three-way summit also including Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

The Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu has since clarified that sending “fighting troops” was not on the table and that the question rather related to the presence of Western military trainers in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also wanted to be reassuring on Monday. “Your children are not going to die in Ukraine,” he said.

But ambiguity has been instilled in people’s minds. Two-thirds (68%) of French people consider that Emmanuel Macron was wrong to display this position, according to an Odoxa-Backbone Consulting survey carried out at the end of February for Le Figaro.

“The wording was very poorly understood. It created a form of fear,” notes Ludovic Mendes, deputy of the presidential Renaissance party. “We must reassure. Say that we are doing everything to avoid war, that France always uses diplomatic channels, and that we must never abandon Ukraine.”

< p>Two years after the start of the Russian offensive, its impact on European economies and a certain weariness of opinions are also being felt.

– “Reassure and dramatize” –

At the beginning of March, 39% of French people (-11 points compared to June 2023) considered that France should continue to support Ukraine economically and financially as it does currently, according to an Elabe survey for La Tribune. Same trend regarding military support, with 79% also opposing the sending of combat troops on the ground and even 47% opposing that of trainers.

“Emmanuel Macron will first have to reassure the French about the concerns about the risks of spreading the conflict”, points out Bernard Sananès, president of the Elabe institute.

The president Russian Vladimir Putin himself fuels this feeling by constantly raising the threat of a nuclear conflict.

At the same time, Emmanuel Macron and his Prime Minister are increasing the number of alarmist warnings in the event of a Russian victory.

“Powers that have become unstoppable” are “expanding the threat every day”, estimated the head of state at the beginning of March , calling on Europeans to live up to “the height of History and the courage it implies”.

Gabriel Attal predicts a “cataclysm for power purchase” of the French if Russia were to win.

“This will be the whole difficulty of the presidential exercise on Thursday evening, to reassure while continuing to dramatize the stakes”, anticipates Bernard Sananès.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116