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    Sunday, April 21, 2024

    NATO's chief says the alliance has no plans to send troops to Ukraine

    French President Emmanuel Macron, center right, delivers a speech at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. More than 20 European heads of state and government and other Western officials are gathering in a show of unity for Ukraine, signaling to Russia that their support for Kyiv isn't wavering as the full-scale invasion grinds into a third year. (Gonzalo Fuentes/Pool via AP)

    BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told The Associated Press that 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.

    Stoltenberg said that “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 over 20 countries discussed options to increase help for Ukraine, Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico said that some countries are weighing whether to strike bilateral deals to send troops to Ukraine to help it fend off the Russian invasion.

    Fico said that his government is not planning to propose to send Slovak soldiers, but did not provide details about what countries might be considering such deals, or what the troops would do in Ukraine.

    Slovak Parliament speaker Peter Pellegrini said Slovakia won’t deploy troops to Ukraine.

    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.”

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

    While ruling out NATO military action, 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-defense, and we have the right to support them in upholding that right.”

    NATO as an alliance provides Ukraine 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.

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses the opening session of the Munich Security Conference at the Bayerischer Hof Hotel in Munich, Germany, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. The 60th Munich Security Conference (MSC) is taking place from Feb. 16 to Feb. 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

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