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Macron denies death of French troops in Ukraine out of fear of protests — SVR head

According to Sergey Naryshkin, the French Army is "visibly concerned" over the growing number of French citizens killed in Ukraine

MOSCOW, March 19. /TASS/. French President Emmanuel Macron seeks to postpone the acknowledgement of the death of French troops in Ukraine, wary of new protests amid the ongoing farmers’ campaign across the country, Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Director Sergey Naryshkin said.

"Sooner or later, Macron will have to reveal the ugly truth, but he will try to delay the ‘confessions’ as long as possible. As they say in the Elysee Palace, the number of French killed ‘has already crossed a psychologically significant threshold.’ The disclosure of such sensitive data could provoke citizens to protest, especially against the background of farmers' massive anti-government campaigns across the country," Naryshkin noted.

According to the intelligence head, the French Army is "visibly concerned" over the growing number of French citizens killed in Ukraine.

"It has been registered that ‘dozens of French citizens’ were killed when Russian forces destroyed a temporary deployment facility for foreigners near Kharkov on 17 January alone. Since then, ‘such attacks have become the norm in the Ukrainian conflict.’ As the French Ministry of Defense unofficially admits, the country has not suffered similar losses abroad since the Algerian war in the second half of the 20th century," Naryshkin underscored.

"The military leadership is also concerned about the discontent among active middle-ranking officers in the French army. They are ‘disproportionately numerous’ among the dead and already at the present stage there are problems with finding ‘volunteers’ to rotate and ‘replace the casualties’ in the Ukrainian theatre," he said.

The SVR director also pointed out that Paris carefully concealing not only the number of casualties, but also the very fact that French military personnel are engaged in Ukraine.

"As a result, the agencies involved are trying to find solutions to practical issues: the dead need to be buried, families need to be compensated, and disabled persons need to be paid pensions. All this requires proper documentation, and further ‘double accounting of deaths’ is fraught with lawsuits from discontented relatives," Naryshkin said.