Macron: Europe’s security ‘at stake’ if Russians claim victory in Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron told French TV that Europe’s security was “at stake” in Ukraine, and that  Russian victory against Kiev “would reduce Europe’s credibility to zero”

French president Emmanuel Macron
French president Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron has warned during an interview on French TV that Europe’s security was “at stake” in Ukraine, with a Russian victory threatening to reduce Europe’s credibility “to zero”.

Macron has said he did not want allies to put limits on the possibility of French assistance to ensure that Russia does not win the war in Ukraine. “If the situation should deteriorate, we would be ready to make sure that Russia never wins that war,” Macron said during an interview on French TV, warning that anybody advocating “limits” on aid to Ukraine “chooses defeat”.

He said it was important for Europe not to draw red lines, which would signal weakness to the Kremlin and encourage it to push on with its invasion of Ukraine.

But he refused to give detail on what a deployment to Ukraine might look like. “I have reasons not to be precise,” he said. “I’m not going to give (Putin) visibility.”

Macron said France would never initiate an offensive against Russia, and also insisted that Paris was not at war with Moscow, despite calling it an “adversary” – but not an enemy – that had launched aggressive attacks against French interests in and outside France.

He added that he hoped that the time would come one day to negotiate peace with a Russian president “whoever it might be”.

Macron has caused an uproar by refusing to rule out the dispatch of Western ground troops to Ukraine, with French defence minister Sébastien Lecornu later saying that a vgreater military presence could include mine clearance and training Ukrainian soldiers on Ukrainian soil.

Macron is seeking to cast the country’s far-right Rassemblement National as an ally of the Kremlin. Opposition parties accused him of using the conflict to boost his centrist coalition’s standing ahead of the European elections in June. 

European elections are a mid-term test ahead of France’s next presidential election: while Macron cannot stand again due to term limits, in 2027 far-right leader Marine Le Pen is expected to mount a fourth bid for the top job.