WW3 fears rise as more countries back Emmanuel Macron after NATO chaos | World | News

Some countries on NATO‘s eastern flank have come out to praise Emmanuel Macron‘s newfound hawkish stance against Russia.

Finland’s foreign minister Elina Valtonen argued the French President was right not to spell out to which extent Western support for Ukraine would go.

The official told the Financial Times: “Now’s not the time to send boots on the ground and we are not even willing to discuss it at this stage. But for the long term, of course we shouldn’t be ruling anything out.”

She added: “Why would we, especially not knowing where this war will go and what happens in the future, disclose all our cards? I really wouldn’t know.”

The “strategic ambiguity” being created by Mr Macron was also praised by other nations along the NATO border with Russia.

Žygimantas Pavilionis, head of the foreign affairs committee of Lithuania’s parliament, said the French President “understands us”, while Estonia’s foreign minister Margus Tsahkna said the provocative remarks by Mr Macron had shaken up Western allies of Ukraine from their war fatigue and made “Putin concerned about what Europe can actually do”.

Since the beginning of the unprovoked, full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Mr Macron went from a more appeasing position with the Kremlin to a more confrontational one.

Even as reports of alleged war crimes started to emerge from Ukraine in early 2022, Mr Macron argued for a time that Russia should not be “humiliated”.

In February, however, after hosting a summit with EU leaders and diplomats from the UK, US and Canada, the French President said it could not be ruled out that NATO combat troops would eventually be sent to Ukraine.

In the hours and days that followed, many NATO members including Germany and the UK said they had no intention of sending boots on the ground and the military alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stressed the support for Kyiv would not involve Western soldiers fighting alongside Ukrainians.

He told the Associated Press: “NATO allies are providing unprecedented support to Ukraine. We have done that since 2014 and stepped up after the full-scale invasion. But there are no plans for NATO combat troops on the ground in Ukraine.”

Still, Mr Macron doubled down on his remarks multiple times last month.

On March 5, during a visit to the Czech Republic, Mr Macron said he “fully stood behind” his previous words on NATO soldiers, adding: “We are surely approaching a moment for Europe in which it will be necessary not to be cowards.

“Is this or is it not our war? Can we look away from the belief that we can let things run their course? I don’t believe so, and therefore I called for a strategic surge and I fully stand behind that.”

Mr Macron’s remarks prompted angered reactions in Russia, with the Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov warning sending NATO boots on the Ukrainian battlefield would drag the military alliance into a major war.

Similarly, Sergei Naryshkin, the head of Russia‘s Foreign Intelligence Service, said last month when asked about Mr Macron’s remarks: “This shows the high degree of political irresponsibility of Europe’s leaders today, in this case, the president of France. These statements are extremely dangerous.”

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