Fact Check: France Is NOT Immediately Sending 3,000 Soldiers To Romania To Fight Russia

Fact Check

  • de: Ioana Burtea
Fact Check: France Is NOT Immediately Sending 3,000 Soldiers To Romania To Fight Russia Not At War

Is France deploying 3,000 troops to Romania to join the fight against Russia, thereby pulling Romania into war? No, that's not true: The French-led NATO Taskforce currently stationed in Romania is expected to be augmented in spring 2025 for a preannounced NATO exercise that is expected to last a few weeks. France did not promise to send its troops to Ukraine. Instead French President Emmanuel Macron said in early March 2024 the possibility of Western troops in Ukraine should not be ruled out in the future.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok by @tonyberbece on March 1, 2024. The narrator said (translated from Romanian to English by Lead Stories staff):

France, which just exchanged threats with Russia, so much so that they mentioned using the nuclear bomb; France, the same country that promised Ukraine it will send troops to fight against Russia, will first send troops to Romania.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-03-05 at 16.03.56.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Mar 5 14:09:39 2024 UTC)

The speaker featured in the clip is Toni Berbece, a Pentecostal minister known for his outspoken anti-Western and anti-LGBT+ rhetoric (archived here) who has called for a Romanian national "awakening" and is also known to promote false claims about Romania and NATO's involvement in the war in Ukraine, claims that Lead Stories Romania has previously debunked here.

In the video on TikTok, Berbece is misrepresenting several facts. The NATO task force in Romania, currently led by France and Gen. Loïc Girard (archived here), announced on February 29, 2024, that NATO will deploy an additional 3,000 troops to Romania in spring 2025 to take part in a scheduled NATO exercise.

While most of the 3,000 soldiers will be French, they will be part of the NATO task force (archived here) and do not represent a French unilateral deployment outside the command of NATO that could become involved in a war against Russia. They are instead under the direct command and part of NATO, which has not agreed to send its troops into Ukraine.

As for the claim that France threatened Russia, it is also misleading. Macron did not promise to send troops to Ukraine but commented, in early March 2024, that sending Western troops on the ground in Ukraine is not "ruled out" in the future (archived here). According to French Armed Forces Minister Sébastien Lecornu, Russia is the one that threatened to shoot down French planes in the Black Sea (archived here).

  Ioana Burtea

Ioana Burtea has worked in journalism for over 15 years. She started her career at Mediafax news agency in Bucharest and has written for DoR magazine for over seven years. Her collaborations include publications like Europe & Me, New Eastern Europe, Balkan Insight and Washington Post. Ioana published pieces on the justice system in Romania, social affairs, politics and personal essays. In 2018, she became a fellow of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. In 2021, she received the first prize in the Portrait category at the national Superscrieri journalism awards. Her first non-fiction book, Fara instructiuni de folosire (transl. No operating instructions), was launched in 2023. 

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