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French Military Intel Chief Sacked Over ‘Lack of Understanding of the Issues’ Amid Ukraine Crisis

© Photo : YouTube/ FRANCE 244 General Eric Vidaud
General Eric Vidaud - Sputnik International, 1920, 31.03.2022
France joined its NATO allies in providing military support to Ukraine, committing 300 million euros in “defensive aid”, equipment and fuel. In the weeks leading up to the crisis, French President Emmanuel Macron held a series of back-and-forth talks with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts in an apparent attempt to defuse tensions.
The chief of France's Main Directorate of Military Intelligence, General Eric Vidaud has resigned. An informed source at the Ministry of the Armed Forces told L’Opinion that Vidaud was set to be sacked in the summer over “French shortcomings” regarding the crisis in Ukraine, but chose to quit immediately instead. Vidaud’s sacking is reportedly related to a “lack of understanding of the issues” and “insufficient briefings”.
BMFTV and other French outlets have subsequently confirmed L’Opinion’s reporting of Vidaud’s departure.
A diplomatic source cited by AFP defended the general, who was put in his post in the autumn of 2021, saying his agency was responsible for “military intelligence on operations, not intentionality”. The source said Russia was deemed not to have the means to launch a full-scale operation in Ukraine, and that “what happened proves him right”.
Before his appointment to the Main Directorate of Military Intelligence, Vidaud served as head of French Special Operations Command – the body responsible for coordinating the missions of French special forces units.
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Vidaud’s resignation follows comments made to Le Monde by Thierry Burkhard, chief of defence staff of France’s armed forces, that French military intelligence failed in its assessment of the “Russian threat” to Ukraine.
Criticism of Vidaud’s performance has not been limited to Ukraine. Last year, after the United States and Britain pulled the rug out from underneath a French submarine contract with Australia worth $65 billion, French military intelligence and other agencies were lambasted for failing to predict the loss of the contract.
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Brigadier General Jacques de Montgros, who presently commands the European Union’s training mission in the Central African Republic, is expected to replace Vidaud, according to L’Opinion’s information.
President Emmanuel Macron and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian have sought to prevent the crisis in relations between the West and Russia over Ukraine from spiraling any further out of control. Earlier this week, after US President Joe Biden called for regime change in Russia and dubbed Vladimir Putin a “butcher”, Macron said he “would not use those words” and called for a diplomatic solution to the crisis. “If we want to do that, we can’t escalate either in words or action,” he said.
French opposition have criticised the Elysee Palace over its weapons deliveries to Ukraine, with National Rally leader Marine Le Pen calling on Europe to stick to diplomacy instead.
Putin and Macron have spoken repeatedly since Russia began its military operation in Ukraine. On Wednesday, the Russian president briefed his French counterpart on measures to provide humanitarian aid and to evacuate civilians from the conflict zone, and told him that Ukraine’s nationalist fighters would need to lay down their arms to resolve the crisis in Mariupol.
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