World

Nato chief says alliance has no plans to send troops to Ukraine

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Nato allies are ‘providing unprecedented support’ to Ukraine but there are no plans to send combat troops.

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said the military alliance has no plans to send combat troops into Ukraine (Matthias Schrader/AP)
Jens Stoltenberg Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said the military alliance has no plans to send combat troops into Ukraine (Matthias Schrader/AP) (Matthias Schrader/AP)

The head of Nato has said the military alliance has no plans to send combat troops into Ukraine, amid reports that some Western countries may be considering putting boots on the ground in the war-ravaged country.

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told the Associated Press: “Nato allies are providing unprecedented support to Ukraine. We have done that since 2014 and stepped up after the full-scale invasion. But there are no plans for Nato combat troops on the ground in Ukraine.”

Ahead of a trip to Paris on Monday, where top officials from more than 20 countries discussed options to increase help for Ukraine, Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico said some countries are weighing whether to strike bilateral deals to send troops to Ukraine to help it fend off the Russian invasion.

Mr Fico said his government is not proposing to send Slovak soldiers, but did not give details about which countries might be considering such deals, or what the troops would do in Ukraine.

Slovak Parliament speaker Peter Pellegrini said Slovakia will not deploy troops to Ukraine.

French President Emmanuel Macron said sending Western troops to Ukraine in future should not be ‘ruled out’ (Gonzalo Fuentes/Pool/AP)
France Ukraine Conference French President Emmanuel Macron said sending Western troops to Ukraine in future should not be ‘ruled out’ (Gonzalo Fuentes/Pool/AP) (Gonzalo Fuentes/AP)

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala declined to comment before leaving for Paris, saying the leaders were meeting to discuss possible options, but he underlined that “the Czech Republic certainly doesn’t want to send its soldiers to Ukraine”.

However, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that sending Western troops to Ukraine in future should not be “ruled out”, as Russia’s full-scale invasion grinds into a third year.

While ruling out Nato military action, Mr Stoltenberg told AP “that this is a war of aggression by Russia against Ukraine, blatantly violating international law. According to international law, Ukraine of course has the right to self-defence, and we have the right to support them in upholding that right.”

Nato as an alliance provides Ukraine with only non-lethal aid and support like medical supplies, uniforms and winter equipment, but some members send weapons and ammunition bilaterally or in groups.

Any decision to send troops would require unanimous support from all member countries.