French President Emmanuel Macron’s stance on potentially deploying troops to Ukraine signals a potential shift towards a more direct NATO involvement in the ongoing war there, despite the hesitations of allies like the United States and Germany.

Open to the Possibility of Sending Troops

Late in February, Macron left open the possibility of a NATO ground presence in Ukraine, a move that has since drawn support from Eastern NATO members. General Pierre Schill highlighted the readiness of the French forces, indicating the preparation of 20,000 soldiers within a month and the possibility of leading a combined force of 60,000.

Macron’s proactive approach in Ukraine departs from his earlier diplomatic attempts with Russia, reflecting a desire to lead in addressing European security challenges. According to Nicolas Tenzer, a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, Macron’s shift represents a sincere commitment to taking a more assertive stance than that of Germany or the U.S., emphasizing the urgency of action without taboos or red lines.

Putin is Clear

After winning the biggest landslide Russian election in the post-Soviet era, President Vladimir Putin commented on Macron’s stance:

“It is clear to everyone, that this will be one step away from a full-scale World War Three. I think hardly anyone is interested in this.”

The Russian strongman went on to note his belief that NATO military personnel were already involved in the fight in Ukraine, stating that he has heard both English and French spoken on the battlefield. He went on to say, “There is nothing good in this, first of all for them, because they are dying there and in large numbers.”

In continuing his remarks, Putin went on to discuss criticism from the White House, stating that they thought the recent Russian elections were not free and fair. Speaking of the current situation in the United States, Putin said:

“The whole world is laughing at what is happening there. It is just a catastrophe—it is not democracy—what on earth is it?”