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France would consider sending troops to Ukraine if asked, Macron says

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Macron (right) with Ukrainian President Zelensky in February

France would consider sending troops to Ukraine if Russian forces break through front lines, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday, warning that wariness among his European partners would only encourage Russia to press on.

Macron triggered mixed reactions in February when he said that the issue of sending Western troops to Ukraine should not be ruled out for the future, even though he recognized that there is currently no consensus for such a move.

“We have undoubtedly been too hesitant by defining the limits of our action to someone who no longer has any and who is the aggressor,” Macron said in a new interview with British newspaper The Economist.

In the interview, Macron doubled down on his comments from February, insisting that they’re not simply empty words.

“If the Russians were to break through the front lines, if there were a Ukrainian request, which is not the case today, we would legitimately have to ask ourselves this question,” he said, noting that French troops were sent to African countries when their leaders asked for help.

Macron also urged his European allies to “get ready” to protect itself because it can’t always count on support from the U.S., where presidential candidate Donald Trump is questioning the need to protect NATO members who don’t spend enough.

As part of a new framework for European defense, Macron suggested bringing in non-EU countries like Britain and Norway, according to The Economist. He also signaled his willingness to discuss extending the protection afforded by France’s nuclear weapons to other European countries.

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