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Macron aimed to persuade Biden and Scholz to take tougher stance on Russia

Macron aimed to persuade Biden and Scholz to take tougher stance on Russia French President Emmanuel Macron (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

French President Emmanuel Macron held talks with US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz regarding the war in Ukraine, aiming to persuade the leaders to adopt a tougher stance against Russia, citing The Wall Street Journal.

According to the WSJ, Macron spoke with Biden and Scholz in February, believing that the West should alter its strategy concerning Russia's war against Ukraine. The French president told the leaders that Western countries should adopt a position of strategic ambiguity towards Russia, keeping all military options on the table.

WSJ notes that this idea sharply contrasts with the position the US has held since the outset of the full-scale invasion. Washington sought to avoid actions that could provoke Moscow.

Macron, on the contrary, wanted to stop broadcasting the West's "red lines" and instead make the Kremlin guess.

American officials said Biden questioned the need to change the strategy, while Scholz generally opposed the idea. The German Chancellor stated that such a strategy risks dividing allies and making NATO countries parties to the conflict.

Macron called the leaders to convey that he wants to use the upcoming summit in Paris to send a message to Putin that Western capitals do not rule out military options. Scholz said that he and the allies would be forced to reject Macron's ideas. Additionally, the Chancellor warned that this could foster a sense of disunity among allies.

The change in strategy was also discussed ahead of the summit at the Élysée Palace. Despite allies not rejecting the idea, Macron stated that there is no consensus on sending troops, but nothing can be ruled out.

Macron's idea of sending troops

Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron did not rule out that NATO could deploy troops to assist Ukraine, which sparked discussions among Ukraine's allies.

France later clarified that it did not mean the direct deployment of troops for combat operations. Some NATO countries said they were willing to consider such a possibility, including Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Canada.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated that Macron meant training by the deployment of NATO troops to Ukraine.

Most countries did not support Macron's position. Furthermore, Macron's unexpected statement caused even greater animosity between him and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.