Macron to ‘finalize’ plans to send Western trainers to Ukraine

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French President Emmanuel Macron said he intends to “finalize” a coalition of countries that will send military trainers to Ukraine.

He laid out plans to deploy Western forces into the war-torn country despite opposition from U.S. President Joe Biden, who is currently in France on a state visit.

It is “much more efficient and practical in certain capacities, under certain conditions, to train on Ukrainian soil,” Macron said Friday evening at a press conference in Paris with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Macron stressed that this request came from Zelenskyy himself and that France will act together with other countries, which he did not name.

Biden has expressed concerns that deploying Western trainers into a place where they could wind up in the line of fire might lead to an escalation of the conflict with Russia, POLITICO reported on Friday. The Kremlin signaled earlier in the week that Moscow would be prepared to strike French military trainers in Ukraine.

But Macron dismissed concerns that his initiative could propel an escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“No, it’s not about deploying European or allied people and soldiers to the front line. It’s about recognizing Ukraine’s sovereignty over its territory,” he said during the press conference.