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MOSCOW, April 13. /TASS/. Resounding statement by the chief of the French intelligence refuting US allegations Russia has been preparing an invasion of Ukraine not just shows that France still prefers to adhere to its special stance within NATO, but also proves the fact that the allies have reached a certain limit of obedience to the United States over the crisis in Ukraine. Saying that NATO is split would be an exaggeration, of course, but it is pretty clear that many of US ideas fail to draw immediate and unequivocal support from other members of the alliance.
Speaking at a session of the defense and armed forces committee of the French parliament the head of the military intelligence directorate (DMR), General Christophe Gomart, complained that NATO’s leadership tended to turn an attentive ear to US intelligence sources, while the information provided by French intelligence services was "more or less " taken into account. General Gomart’s statement made back last month hit the headlines as late as last Saturday.
"NATO announced that the Russians were about to invade Ukraine. But, according to French intelligence, there is nothing to corroborate this hypothesis — we determined that the Russians were deploying neither command posts nor logistical facilities, including field hospitals, needed for a military incursion… Later it turned out that we were right," General Gomart told the parliamentary hearing, without specifying what period of time he was having in mind.
"There are major rifts among NATO members regarding Russia’s role in the Ukrainian crisis," the Internet resource Svobodnaya Pressa (Free Press) quotes the director of the Center for Strategic Research, Ivan Konovalov, as saying. "Far from everybody in NATO sees our country as an aggressor. This statement by the chief of the French military intelligence is fresh evidence contradictions inside the alliance are coming to a head."
No major split inside NATO is in sight, of course, he said. "The alliance is homogenous by and large. No alternative pole of power has emerged in it. Yet the French have demonstrated their intention to ease the grip of US hegemony. Such gestures may now follow from Germany, Italy, and Spain. Also we see such anti-US sentiment in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Hungary."
France has always taken a special position inside NATO, the deputy director of the Military and Political Analysis Institute, Alexander Khramchikhin, recalls.
"In this particular case it is probably a hint Europe has reached a certain limit of obedience to the United States over the Ukrainian issue, a line it is unprepared to step over. A very vocal statement it was, indeed," he told TASS.
Khramchikhin says there is no evidence France had agreed anything with anybody in advance.
"But there are some EU and NATO member-countries that are unprepared to go beyond a certain limit — namely, the introduction of new sanctions against Russia, supplies of weapons to Ukraine and connivance with every single step Kiev might care to take."
"Possibly, France lacks the resources that are at the United States’ disposal, but the French have a well-developed intelligence system. The general would surely not be talking nonsense," the chief of the world politics chair at the Higher School of Economics, Maksim Bratersky, told TASS. "He also regrets the Americans have made all other countries bow to its opinion to the detriment of impartiality and effectiveness."
Bratersky agrees no split inside NATO is in sight: the alliance remains an integral machinery. But it is worth paying attention to the United States’ role in the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen. "That it has been operating there without a UN Security Council mandate no longer surprises anyone," Bratersky said. "But there has been no discussion even within NATO, either. There could not have been any consensus on the issue. Far from all of the United States’ ideas evoke automatic approval from the other NATO countries."
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