French President Emmanuel Macron has raised the possibility of NATO and European countries committing troops to Ukraine under specific circumstances. In an interview with The Economist, Macron outlined two conditions for such a deployment: if Russian forces were to breach Ukrainian front lines, and if Ukraine formally requested such assistance. While Ukraine’s Western allies have provided substantial military aid, they have hesitated to send troops, wary of escalating tensions with Russia.

Macron’s remarks have ignited debate within NATO, with some leaders acknowledging the potential for troop deployment while others, like German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, firmly reject the idea of boots on the ground. Similarly, U.S. President Joe Biden has reiterated his stance that American forces will not engage in conflict with Russia in Ukraine, emphasizing the absence of American soldiers in the region.

The Kremlin has warned that NATO involvement in Ukraine could lead to direct confrontation with Russia, underscoring the sensitive geopolitical dynamics at play.

“The very fact of discussing the possibility of sending certain contingents to Ukraine from NATO countries is a very important new element,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a media briefing.

The French president reiterated his commitment to his earlier remarks, emphasizing the need for flexibility in response to an adversary who adopts a similarly unconstrained approach. Macron underscored France’s deployment of several thousand troops to the Sahel region in Africa, a response to requests from sovereign states grappling with terrorism. He cautioned against dismissing any potential courses of action outright, suggesting that such rigidity fails to heed the lessons drawn from the events of the past two years, particularly the onset of Russia’s comprehensive invasion in February 2022.