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Macron warns against ‘limits’ on backing Ukraine

 French President Emmanuel Macron issued a warning to allies on Thursday, cautioning against placing restrictions on support for Ukraine, emphasizing that European security was at risk in Kyiv's struggle against the Russian invasion.

With Ukraine facing military setbacks following the failure of a counteroffensive last summer, Macron surprised some allies last month by not ruling out the possibility of sending Western troops to Ukraine. In an interview with French television aimed at clarifying his stance, Macron stated that the deployment of ground forces was not currently under consideration, but stressed that Europe must keep "all options" open in case the conflict escalates. Macron's remarks coincided with his upcoming trip to Berlin on Friday for a Ukraine summit with allies German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

Macron reiterated his stance that Europe should demonstrate strength and take all necessary measures to prevent Russia from prevailing in a war that posed a threat to the security of ordinary French and European citizens. He warned that if Russia emerged victorious, Europe's credibility would be severely undermined. Macron emphasized the importance of supporting Ukraine without imposing limits, asserting that any advocacy for such limitations amounted to choosing defeat. He criticized the vocabulary of limitations that emerged since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, highlighting instances where commitments were made but subsequently broken.

In a post-interview statement, Macron underscored the risk of Russia continuing its territorial ambitions beyond Ukraine, posing a threat to neighboring countries such as Moldova, Romania, and Poland. He stressed the need for negotiations to secure peace after the conflict ends, emphasizing that peace should not equate to the capitulation of Ukraine. Macron quoted Winston Churchill, stating the necessity of maintaining the "sinews of peace" and rejecting defeatism.

Macron asserted that France was prepared to prevent a Russian victory in Ukraine, although it would not initiate offensive action. He cautioned against the repercussions of a Russian victory, emphasizing the impact on French security in Europe. Despite his extensive dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Macron expressed skepticism about Putin's trustworthiness, describing Russia as an adversary while refraining from labeling it an enemy.

Macron's remarks about the potential deployment of ground troops to Ukraine last month sparked controversy both among allies and within France. However, a majority in both houses of the French parliament supported Macron's Ukraine strategy, with the exception of the far-right RN party, which abstained, and the radical left, which voted against it. When asked about sending ground troops to Ukraine, Macron clarified that such a decision was not imminent but emphasized the need to remain open to all options in response to Russia's escalating aggression.

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