Two weeks ago, our subscribers discovered a dossier in Air & Cosmos questioning France's possible contribution to operations in Ukraine. An open war has now begun in Ukraine. Emmanuel Macron was this morning in a defence council that follows yesterday's.
Open war in Ukraine
The President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, was this morning in a defence council that follows the one of yesterday. With Admiral Jean-Philippe Rolland, his Chief of Staff, and General Thierry Burkhard, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, he must find the best answers to this Russian offensive in Ukraine. The war is on in Ukraine. The President must take into account the resilience of France, the agreements made with our partners in the region, in Estonia and Romania. The fact that he is also President of Europe for a few weeks. And a contributor to NATO: France has set aside military assets in the framework of the NATO Response Force (NRF) as Air&Cosmos revealed on 14 February (LINK: https://air-cosmos.com/article/huit-rafale-reserves-pour-les-operations-de-l-otan-28171).
France participates in NATO's ultra-rapid reaction force
This is also the case for ground assets, reserved for NATO's ultra-rapid reaction force. These assets are mainly cavalry, with the 3rd Hussar Regiment, one of the regiments of the Franco-German Brigade. If NATO authorises the use of these assets, and France keeps its word, there will be French troops mobilised under the NATO banner very quickly. France's contribution will be first of all air and naval. Air, because it is the weapon of lightning. And because it is NATO's point of strength over Russia. France can quickly send fighters to Romania and Estonia, because in Estonia it also has 300 soldiers of the army and an ally, the only one that came with ground troops in Mali, with Barkhane. France knows the Estonian sky well, which it regularly secures with Mirage 2000-5s. It is a possible option for the president: to reinforce the Estonian sky police.
A trump card: the naval air group
But it is more likely that it will leave this mission to another NATO force, and concentrate on the southern flank. The trump card of the French president, and head of his armies, is the carrier battle group, conveniently at sea. This powerful force, which may also include a second US and a third Italian aircraft carrier, can pose a threat to Putin's forces and, above all, prevent him from crossing the borders of Ukraine. For once, the battle group will be used for what it was designed for: high intensity. At this stage, the carrier battle group holds the closest nuclear warheads to Russian territory. The Rafale Marines of the carrier battle group have this capability as part of the naval nuclear air force (FANu) and the context leads to consider all options, including nuclear.
Tactical deployment in Romania
In Romania, it is to deploy a battle group of 1,000 troops, possibly with the help of other nations. France will be the framework nation. This is what Jean-Charles Larsonneur, MP for Finistère, told us yesterday, explaining that the decision should have been announced last week. The West preferred to procrastinate, waiting for Moscow to play its cards. Moscow invaded Ukraine. Vladimir Putin had said so and written it in black and white a year ago. Jean-Charles Larsonneur, an Agir MP, explains in his report on the threats in the East, which came out yesterday, that Russia acts according to the theory of the bayonet, dear to Lenin. When it encounters a loose material, it continues its course. But when it hits a hard point, it stops moving and moves backwards.