Emmanuel Macron says sending troops to Ukraine cannot be ruled out - what are other European countries saying?

France's President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday (local time) there was no consensus on sending troops to Ukraine, but the subject could not be ruled out.

"There is no consensus at this stage... to send troops on the ground," Macron said after hosting some 20 countries allied to Ukraine.

"Nothing should be excluded. We will do everything that we must so that Russia does not win."

Germany, Britain and other European countries said on Tuesday they had no plans to send ground troops to Ukraine, after France hinted at the possibility, and the Kremlin warned that any such move would inevitably lead to conflict between Russia and NATO.

Macron's comments, made at a hastily convened meeting of European leaders in Paris on ways to boost support for Kyiv, come amid battlefield gains by Russian President Vladimir Putin's forces in eastern Ukraine and growing shortages of ammunition and manpower on the Ukrainian side.

However, Germany, BritainSpain, Poland and the Czech Republic distanced themselves from any suggestion they might commit ground troops to the Ukraine war, now in its third year.

...There will be no ground troops, no soldiers on Ukrainian soil sent there by European countries or NATO states," German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday.

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius was equally adamant.

"Boots on the ground is not an option for...Germany," Pistorius told reporters during a visit to Vienna.

Seeking to clarify Macron's remarks, French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne said on Tuesday the president had in mind sending troops for specific tasks such as helping on mine clearance, production of weapons on site, and cyberdefence.

"(This) could require a (military) presence on Ukrainian territory, without crossing the threshold of fighting," Sejourne told French lawmakers.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis welcomed Macron's push to get allies to focus more on how to help Kyiv. "Times like these require political leadership, ambition, and courage to think out of the box," he said in a post on X.

Scholz did say that European leaders now appeared willing after Monday's talks to procure weapons from countries outside Europe as a way of speeding up military aid to Ukraine.

Germany has become the second biggest supplier of military aid to Kyiv since Russia launched its full-blown invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, but is extremely wary of steps that would draw the NATO alliance into direct conflict with Russia.


The Kremlin issued a prompt warning about what was at stake.

"The very fact of discussing the possibility of sending certain contingents to Ukraine from NATO countries is a very important new element," spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters when asked about Macron's remarks.

Asked about the risks if NATO members did send troops to fight in Ukraine, Peskov said: "In that case, we would need to talk not about the probability, but about the inevitability (of a direct conflict)."

Russia and the United States - the big power behind NATO - have the world's largest arsenals of nuclear weapons. President Joe Biden has cautioned that a conflict between Russia and NATO could trigger World War Three.

The possibility in particular of German troops being deployed to ex-Soviet territory is hugely sensitive for Russia, whose fierce resistance to Hitler's invasion during World War Two is an integral part of national identity. Putin has even cast Russia's actions in Ukraine as a struggle against "Nazis", a stance Kyiv and the West dismiss as cynical and absurd.

A White House official told Reuters on Monday that the United States had no plans to send troops to fight in Ukraine, neither were there plans to send NATO troops to fight there.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has stepped up his lobbying of European governments for more artillery shells and longer-range weapons. However, political bickering in Washington has blocked $61 billion worth of sorely needed U.S. aid.

The Czech Republic this month announced plans, backed by Canada, Denmark and others, to finance the rapid purchase of hundreds of thousands of ammunition rounds from third countries to dispatch to Ukraine.