NATO leaders have been scrambling to distance themselves from comments made by French President Emmanuel Macron – that member states deploying troops to Ukraine should “not be ruled out.”

Russia “must not and cannot win this war,” the French president told a late-night press conference after a meeting of mostly European leaders on how to help Ukraine. He added that there was “no consensus” among NATO members on sending troops to Ukraine, later adding that creating “strategic ambiguity” was important.

“We should not exclude that there might be a need for security that then justifies some elements of deployment” he said.

The remarks were quickly condemned by Russia who said such deployments would “inevitably” lead to war between Russia and NATO.

Meanwhile, other countries – understanding that deploying NATO troops to Ukraine would be a rapid route to world war three – have distanced themselves from Macron’s remarks in an attempt to deescalate the situation.

The British government said on Tuesday that there were no “plans to make large-scale deployments” to Ukraine outside the “small number of personnel in-country.” MoD sources speaking to The Telegraph newspaper said such a move would be a “major escalation” with Russia.

The US, Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Spain were also quick to distance themselves from Macron’s suggestion – with Germany’s deputy chancellor suggesting France would be better off sending Ukraine more weapons. Lithuania, however, said Macron’s idea was worth considering.

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said:

“In an attempt to position himself as Mr. Europe, Macron has led NATO into another PR crisis, with allies rapidly distancing themselves from the remarks. After two years of fighting, and hundreds of thousands dead and wounded, politicians should be focused on ending this war. Instead, Macron seems willing to march French and other European lives into the meat grinder – an escalation that would make a nuclear war between Russia and NATO inevitable. Securing a ceasefire needs to be top of the political agenda.”

Image credit: NATO / Flickr