Kremlin warns of 'inevitability' of conflict with NATO if military alliance sends troops to Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron, center right, delivers a speech at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024.
French President Emmanuel Macron, center right, delivers a speech at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. Copyright Gonzalo Fuentes/AP
By Euronews with AP
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NATO's chief says the alliance has no plans to send troops to Ukraine, but French President Emmanuel Macron said it should not be 'ruled out'.

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The Kremlin said on Tuesday that a direct conflict between NATO and Russia would be an "inevitability" if the military alliance deployed troops to Ukraine.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson to Russian President Vladimir Putin, was reacting to statements on the potential deployment of NATO troops at an international conference held in Paris on Monday.

Peskov said that discussing the possibility of sending "certain contingents" from NATO into Ukraine is a "very important new element".

"It is not in the interests of these countries, and they should be mindful," he said.

"In that case (of sending troops), we would need to talk not about the probability, but about the inevitability (of a direct conflict between NATO and Russia)."

French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that sending Western troops on the ground in Ukraine should not be “ruled out” in the future, as Russia’s military operation grinds into a third year and Ukraine tries to convince the West of the continued urgency of military aid.

The idea of sending NATO troops to Ukraine has been taboo since the Russian invasion in February 2022, and it remains a red line for most of Europe's top leaders.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, for one, differed from Macron as to what happened in Paris, saying the participants had agreed “that there will be no ground troops, no soldiers on Ukrainian soil who are sent there by European states or NATO states.”

Scholz said there was also consensus “that soldiers operating in our countries also are not participating actively in the war themselves”.

His insistence on staying away from a direct conflict comes even as Germany takes steps to improve its own military readiness. The country recently conducted a war gaming exercise exploring a scenario for a direct Russia-NATO conflict arising on the EU's eastern frontier within the next 18 months.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday echoed Scholz's words, stating that the military alliance has no plans to send combat troops into Ukraine:

“NATO allies are providing unprecedented support to Ukraine. We have done that since 2014 and stepped up after the full-scale invasion. But there are no plans for NATO combat troops on the ground in Ukraine," Stoltenberg said.

At a meeting in Prague on Tuesday, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said “Poland does not plan to send its troops to Ukraine.” Prime Minister Petr Fiala has insisted that “the Czech Republic certainly doesn’t want to send its soldiers.”

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico, meanwhile, has said his government is not planning to propose to deploy, but that some countries were weighing whether to strike bilateral deals to provide troops to help Ukraine fend off the Russian invasion.

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