Macron embarrassment as ex Army Chief claims France not ready for war

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Despite French President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to step up France’s defence capabilities, the former chief of staff for the French Army said his country is far from ready to engage in a high-intensity war. Pierre de Villiers told French daily Le Parisien that Mr Macron’s defence budget is insufficiently endowed.

Mr de Villiers left his position at the beginning of Emmanuel Macron’s term in 2017, making the same complaints he made on Tuesday.

“The French armies today do not have the means for a high-intensity war,” he told Le Parisien.

According to him, the situation in “Ukraine must force us to readjust our model”.

He said: “You have to adapt it not to what we have been doing for decades, war operations, but to win a war. You have to take into account its durability, therefore being able to hold on, and the hardness of the war.”

According to Pierre de Villiers, “we must continue to modernise our forces”, review “the whole logistical aspect” and accelerate “the rise in power of our industrial apparatus”.

He continued: “How is it that since February 24 (date of the Russian invasion of Ukraine), we are still only at the preparatory work of the next Military Programming Law?

“I’m waiting for the response to this increase in credits, to this need for vision. It’s not going fast enough.”

For him, “we need much more and urgently”.

Mr de Villiers said however that it is first necessary “to start from the model of an army which one wants, and then” to approach the question of the financing.

Emmanuel Macron is to hold a speech on Defence today in Toulon.

The French President is expected to unveil the National Strategic Review, the basis of the next military programming law for the years 2024-2030.

It comes as Vladimir Putin’s threats to the West of a nuclear war continue to mount.

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In his latest telephone conversation with President Macron, the Russian leader claimed that America’s nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed hundreds of thousands of people (mostly civilians) and triggered the Japanese 1945 surrender, proved “you don’t need to attack the major cities in order to win”.

A French Government source told the Mail on Sunday that the Kremlin leader is keen to get across that “all options are on the table”.

His comments come after Moscow warned residents of the southern Kherson region of Ukraine to leave or face being deported, ahead of an expected Russian withdrawal.

Russia has repeatedly claimed Ukraine may use a dirty bomb – a conventional explosive laced with radioactive material – which has been viewed as a potential precursor to a false flag operation.

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