The prospect of sending Western troops to Ukraine was rejected by other NATO members, including the U.S., U.K. and Germany, and sharply criticized by French opposition parties, but not dismissed by Estonia and Lithuania. French officials also downplayed Macron’s comments, pointing to activities such as demining and arms production which might involved a Western presence in Ukraine.

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    PARIS  — French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday said his refusal to rule out the prospect of sending Western troops to Ukraine was intentional, despite the uproar it has provoked.

    Macron swept aside the barrage of criticism he has faced in France and on the international stage and insisted his statements on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine were carefully thought out.

    On Monday, Macron said — after a leaders’ conference on support for Kyiv — that there was “no consensus” on sending ground troops to Ukraine in an “official manner,” but that “nothing was excluded.”

    The prospect of sending Western troops to Ukraine was rejected by other NATO members, including the U.S., U.K. and Germany, and sharply criticized by French opposition parties, but not dismissed by Estonia and Lithuania.

    French officials also downplayed Macron’s comments, pointing to activities such as demining and arms production which might involved a Western presence in Ukraine.

    The speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament even warned Macron against sending troops to Ukraine, saying they would meet the same fate as Napoleon’s army.


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