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Paris could send no more than 200 military instructors to Ukraine — French journalist

However, Christelle Neant reminded that Ukraine had repeatedly announced receiving certain weapons, but other countries then published denials

MOSCOW, May 27. /TASS/. France could send no more than 200 soldiers to Ukraine as instructors, said Christelle Neant, a French editor-in-chief of the International Reporters news agency in Donbass.

Ukrainian lawmaker Alexey Goncharenko (designated by Russia as a terrorist and extremist) earlier said that France had agreed to send military instructors to Ukraine to train recruits. Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Alexander Syrsky said he had signed an agreement allowing French instructors to visit Ukrainian training centers.

"According to the Russian Defense Ministry, there are still about 200 French mercenaries in the ranks of Ukrainian forces. If France sends its soldiers as instructors, it is clear that the numbers will be of roughly the same order. A few hundred soldiers at most, as this would be enough to train tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers. What we need to check is whether this information has a basis in reality because Goncharenko is a specialist in fake news," Neant told TASS.

She said Ukraine had repeatedly announced receiving certain weapons, but other countries then published denials.

"So we have to see whether France will confirm this sending of instructors or not. If it is confirmed, it would be a good way for [French President Emmanuel] Macron to test the reaction of the French public if these few instructors get killed, before sending potentially more troops if the French do not react negatively," the journalist said.

In an interview with TASS on May 8, Neant said she was almost certain that French troops were already fighting on the side of Ukraine. According to the journalist, they could be current or former members of the French armed forces. As proof of that, she pointed to the summoning of the French ambassador by the Russian Foreign Ministry following a strike on mercenaries in Kharkov. She said that had never happened before when mercenaries from other countries were killed.

Macron, in an interview with the Economist, recently said sending troops to Ukraine could be considered at the request of Kiev "if Russian forces break through the front line." Kremlin Spokesman Dmitriy Peskov told reporters earlier that these words represented an unprecedented new round of tension.