Pierre de Villiers says he no longer feels able to command sort of armed forces he thinks necessary, amid dispute over funding

The head of the French armed forces has resigned amid a bitter public row with the president, Emmanuel Macron – an unprecedented dispute that has highlighted the current strain on the French military deployed in numerous operations abroad and at home.

The military chief, Gen Pierre de Villiers, said in a resignation statement on Wednesday that he no longer felt able to command the sort of armed forces “that I think is necessary to guarantee the protection of France and the French people”.

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