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Macron's statement meant to test Russia's reaction, prepare new escalatory steps — expert

Melkulangara Bhadrakumar added that the West is gradually climbing the ladder of escalation in part because Russia has successfully coped with the sanctions

NEW DELHI, March 1. /TASS/. French President Emmanuel Macron's statement on the possibility of sending Western military forces to Ukraine was intended to test Russia's reaction to potential future steps toward escalating the conflict further, Indian diplomat and international security expert Melkulangara Bhadrakumar told TASS.

The "motive could be that they are setting the stage for a certain further step on the escalation ladder. They are testing the threshold of tolerance," Bhadrakumar said, surmising that the French president’s remarks may be part of a plan to destabilize Russia ahead of voting in the country’s presidential election on March 15-17.

"It's not a question of whether the troops are going to appear there in April or May or something like that. What shook me was that, you know, that this kind of thought, you know, has been aired publicly because surely if such a deployment takes place, I don't think Russia will take it lightly. And the reaction so far from what I have seen has been very sharp, which means war, which means a war between NATO and Russia. So, they are threatening Russia. They are threatening Russia that, you know, that [they] will not allow to win," the expert noted.

In his opinion, the West is gradually climbing the ladder of escalation in part because Russia has successfully coped with the sanctions. "Total victory for Russia is not acceptable [for them]. [It could] mean the death of NATO, you know, and it will mean, the breakup of the Transatlantic system, and it will mean the complete loss of credibility for the United States. So, it is not something that they can [countenance]; it is not just their narrative that Russia must be defeated. I think it is more serious than that, and it must be taken more seriously," he noted, emphasizing that, "the Russian reaction also shows that Russia is taking it seriously."

Macron is being Macron

The expert pointed out, however, that it is very unlikely that Macron's words will actually be carried out. "Macron is [being] Macron, you know <…> He has a habit of speaking things which others, you know, make it a point to distance themselves from. He's not also taken seriously in the European [public] opinion. [The] man is not any longer having any credibility," Bhadrakumar stated.

"When a strong foreign policy move like this <…> deploying troops abroad in a foreign country, which may lead to war, [the initiators] must have a public consensus, first of all, in the domestic opinion. And I really <…> don't think that Macron commands that kind of leadership in France today," the expert noted.

However, Bhadrakumar said, it is within the realm of possibility that Macron's remarks were part of some preconceived plan. "I don't think that such a thing he would say openly, without, you know, some kind of calculation. And that calculation is definitely to test the waters," he concluded.

On February 26, French President Emmanuel Macron said that at a meeting in Paris, where representatives of about 20 Western countries discussed further support for Ukraine in the conflict with Russia, the topic of the potential deployment by Western countries of their own ground troops to Ukraine was raised. According to him, the participants did not reach a consensus on this issue, but such a scenario cannot be ruled out in the future. After the conference, representatives of most of the participating countries said that they were not planning to send troops to Ukraine and, moreover, that they opposed their involvement in military hostilities against Russia.