FAKE NEWS: France sent the Foreign Legion to the Ukrainian front

Members of the 13th Foreign Legion regiment attend the ceremony to mark the 160th anniversary of the 'Battle of Camerone' , in Tapa, Estonia, 30 April 2023.
© EPA-EFE/VALDA KALNINA   |   Members of the 13th Foreign Legion regiment attend the ceremony to mark the 160th anniversary of the 'Battle of Camerone' , in Tapa, Estonia, 30 April 2023.

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Thousands of French Foreign Legion soldiers are already fighting on the Ukrainian front, according to a pro-Russian and anti-Western publication.

The snitch criminal turned military expert

NEWS: "Emmanuel Macron, the President of the French Republic, did not speak in vain. He actually set the stage for what is happening today. And it happens that he sent part of the so-called foreign legion to Ukraine. Mercenaries trained by officers of the French army and paid by the Republic to shed their blood for it in various theaters of war. What is the significance and what are the consequences of this decision adopted at Palace Élysée?

The French Legion is a formidable force, let's call it paramilitary, made up of people of various nationalities, coming from practically all corners of the world in search of substantial gains. Or even simply attracted by their own spirit of adventure, by their willingness to risk their lives on various battle fronts. And not infrequently, these young people become cannon fodder, sparing the French state from sacrificing its own citizens. Foreign Legion mercenaries are trained to an extremely high level and equipped according to the latest standards in the field.

It is not known, or at least I do not know, how many members the Foreign Legion really has. Probably between 5 and 10 thousand. A real army. [...] 5 thousand legionnaires, extremely well trained and equipped, won’t fundamentally change the fate of the war in Ukraine, but they can influence it to a significant extent."

NARRATIVE: 1. Russia is fighting the collective West and NATO. 2. France sent troops to fight against Russia in Ukraine.

CONTEXT: Since the outbreak of the full-scale war in Ukraine, the Kremlin has consistently portrayed itself as a victim of NATO and the European community, which is forced to fight a new ”war for the defense of the fatherland’`. At regular intervals, Russian propaganda launches various false narratives into the public space, which feed the main theses accompanying its aggressive policy in Eastern Europe, such as those blaming the West for the war in Ukraine. Thus, through mouthpieces with high penetration power in the information space, Moscow has claimed that the West (including Romania) will enter the war on the side of Ukraine, but also that the NATO troop stationed in Europe ( Romania included) pose a threat to peace  .

This time, the starting point of the narrative seems to be  a text by Stephen Bryen , a former deputy assistant secretary with the US Department of Defense during the Reagan administration, and an expert on security strategies and technologies. The article written by the criminal Sorin Roșca-Stănescu (sentenced to 2 years and 4 months in prison  for joining an organized criminal group), although seemingly unrelated to the original text, differs only in terms of the words used, while the ideas expressed and the order in which they are presented are largely the same, speaking of the French interests in Africa, heavily affected by the Russian interventions in the area.

Correct News, the publication owned by Roșca Stănescu – a former informant for the communist political police who publicly admitted that he collaborated with it - was placed, in 2021, on the 2nd place in and "independent press" ranking compiled by the official Moscow newspaper, Sputnik, for "the critical attitude towards the abuses committed by authorities and the publication of resounding investigations". Many of the publication's  “resounding investigations” were grouped in the volumes of the book The War in Ukraine  " which Roșca Stănescu co-authored, together with Cozmin Gușă and Adrian Severin , another two of   the Kremlin’s mouthpieces  extremely present in the public space. The respective volumes talk about "military bioresearch laboratories in Ukraine" and "racketeer-run baby farms", about how "Ukraine has already been bought by the Rothschild family", and about also how "the West is plotting to dismantle Russia".

The French Foreign Legion, which SRS claims is already present in Ukraine, is a corps of the French army, comprising several military subdivisions: infantry, cavalry, engineer and airborne troops. Independent of the rest of the French armed forces only in terms of recruitment, it was created in 1831 to allow the incorporation of foreign nationals into the French army.

PURPOSE: To promote the anti-Ukrainian and anti-Western discourse, to provoke and amplify social tensions, to validate own pro-Russian theories.

France did not send troops to Ukraine

WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: NATO has stated on numerous occasions that it does not want to get involved in the war in Ukraine, being careful to avoid any possible incidents with the Russian forces. Instead, it has pressured Moscow with sanctions and supplied Ukraine with weapons, ammunition, humanitarian aid and funds. Moreover, there has never been a NATO or Ukrainian plan to attack Russia militarily or to militarily reclaim annexed territories. In fact, as in the case of other "discoveries" by the (pro-)Moscow propaganda, no evidence is provided in this case either, the respective narratives relying solely on the statements of political leaders or pro-Kremlin experts. For his part, in support of the statements he claims to be facts, Sorin Roșca Stănescu fails to provide any evidence that any NATO state, not just France, has sent soldiers to Ukraine after the Russian invasion.

In fact, immediately after Bryen's article appeared, the French Foreign Ministry said in a post on X that France had not sent troops to Ukraine ,  calling the claim "disinformation." A few days later, Bryen published another material, in which he admitted that he “could be wrong”  about the alleged deployment of French troops in Ukraine, and provided the sources of the previously published article. Thus, he cites an article from a Russian military news site  , which notes at the end that it “ can neither confirm nor deny this information." That article was based on reports by a Russian Telegram channel and a Russian journalist, who in turn specified that the information was unconfirmed. Another source cited by Bryen is a  Facebook page (PETV), which describes itself as "a gaming platform used for comedy and opinions resulting from spontaneous dialogue". This page quotes Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying that "France will have ready 1,500 soldiers in April to be sent to Ukraine." Last but not least, Stephen Bryen adds to his list of sources a post from a well-known website promoting conspiracy theories , from those related to the covid19 pandemic, to the satanic occult ruling the world.

Moreover, we see that, although the cited posts refer to 100 fighters, and the Russian diplomacy speaks of 1,500, the number of soldiers sent by France to Ukraine reaches 5,000 in Roșca Stănescu's material, practically more than half of the French Foreign Legion, estimated to be somewhere around 9,000 people. Moreover, in gross ignorance of the issue, SRS states that the French Foreign Legion is a paramilitary group, comparing it to the defunct Russian Wagner group, when in reality it is an integral part of the French army, fully reporting to the military leadership in Paris. Moreover, the Legion's 3rd Infantry Regiment that the cited "sources" refer to is based in French Guiana, where it is responsible for protecting the Guyana Space Center and fighting illegal gold mining in the region. The deployment of a regiment thousands of kilometers away from the destination area seems quite improbable, given that tens of thousands of soldiers are much closer, and the costs of deploying them would be much lower.

GRAIN OF TRUTH: In an interview two weeks ago,  French President Emmanuel Macron said he still did not rule out sending French troops to Ukraine, recalling his recent statements  suggesting that Western states should consider the deployment of armed forces on Ukrainian territory. In the same interview, however, Macron stated that the current situation on the front did not require such a measure.

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