Lavrov Warns that French Military Instructors in Ukraine Would be “Legitimate Targets”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared that French military instructors in Ukraine would be considered “legitimate targets” for Russian forces, emphasizing Russia’s stance against foreign military support for Ukraine.

What You Need to Know:

While speaking in the Republic of Congo, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that French military instructors in Ukraine would be a “legitimate target” for Russian forces. This statement underscores Russia’s continued opposition to foreign military support for Ukrainian troops. Lavrov’s remarks were reinforced by Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, who asserted that instructors training Ukrainian forces do not have immunity, regardless of their nationality. This announcement follows comments from Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi about French instructors visiting Ukrainian training centers, although both the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and French authorities clarified that no final decisions had been made.

Why It Matters:

The declarations by Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, highlight the escalating tensions surrounding foreign involvement in the Ukraine conflict. Russia’s stance that foreign military instructors are legitimate targets underscores the potential risks for international military personnel supporting Ukraine in country. This situation exacerbates the already volatile geopolitical landscape and raises the stakes for countries considering military assistance to Ukraine.

The Details:

During his speech in the Republic of Congo, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov explicitly stated that French military instructors in Ukraine would be considered legitimate targets by Russian forces.

“As for the French instructors, I think they are already on the Ukrainian territory,” Lavrov said, echoing Russian claims that French forces have already been deployed to Ukraine in an official capacity as a fighting force.

“Regardless of their status, military officials or mercenaries represent a legitimate target for our armed forces,” he added.

This position was echoed by Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, who reiterated that foreign instructors training Ukrainian troops do not possess immunity, regardless of their nationality.

“Instructors who train the Kyiv regime’s troops don’t have any sort of immunity, and it doesn’t matter whether they are French or not,” Peskov warned.

These comments were made a week after Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief, Oleksandr Syrskyi, announced that he had “already signed the documents that will allow the first French instructors to visit our training centers soon and familiarize themselves with their infrastructure and staff.”

However, this announcement was later clarified by the Ukraine Ministry of Defense, which stated that discussions were still ongoing. Similarly, French authorities have confirmed that no final decisions have been made regarding the deployment of instructors to Ukraine.

Russia has maintained its opposition to the deployment of foreign military instructors to Ukraine since the start of the invasion, routinely stating that the deployment of foreign forces to Ukraine, in any capacity, would make them military targets.

In regard to the prospect of British instructors being sent to Ukraine last October, Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council Dmitry Medvedev warned that they would be “a legal target for our armed forces … understanding perfectly well that they will be ruthlessly destroyed. And not as mercenaries, but namely as British NATO specialists.”

What’s Next:

The declarations by Russian officials signal a clear warning to countries considering sending military instructors or other forms of military assistance to Ukraine. The potential deployment of French instructors, despite current uncertainties, remains a point of contention that could escalate tensions between Russia and NATO countries. If French instructors do arrive in Ukraine, it is likely to provoke further responses from Russia, potentially increasing the risk of direct confrontations.

Future developments may include continued diplomatic negotiations between Ukraine, France, and other NATO members regarding the presence of foreign military personnel in Ukraine. Additionally, there may be increased scrutiny and protective measures for any foreign instructors to mitigate the risks posed by Russian threats.


The recent statements by Russian officials regarding the legitimacy of targeting foreign military instructors in Ukraine highlight the heightened risks and complexities of international involvement in the conflict. With Russia steadfast in its opposition to foreign military presence, and ongoing uncertainties about the deployment of French instructors, the situation remains volatile.

What Do You Think?

  • Do you think the involvement of foreign instructors will significantly impact the course of the conflict in Ukraine?
Unbiased & Unfiltered News Reporting for 12+ years. Covering Geo-Political conflicts, wartime events, and vital Breaking News from around the world. Editor-In-Chief of Atlas News.


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