Putin's intelligence chief rebukes Macron for his very dangerous statements about Ukraine

Written by Jay Faulconbridge

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Russian President Vladimir PutinThe head of foreign intelligence, the French president, said Emmanuel MacronRussia's refusal to rule out sending European forces to fight Russian soldiers in Ukraine was extremely dangerous and irresponsible.

Macron said last month that there was no consensus on sending European troops to fight in Ukraine, but nothing should be ruled out, although the United States and other European members of the coalition said there were no plans to do so.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine sparked the deepest crisis in Moscow's relations with the West since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, and President Vladimir Putin warned that the West risked provoking a nuclear war if it sent troops to fight in Ukraine.

In response to a question about Macron's statements, Sergei Naryshkin, head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), the main successor to the Foreign Espionage Department of the First Directorate of the KGB, said that those statements were completely irresponsible.

“This shows the high degree of political irresponsibility of today's European leaders, and in this case, the president of France,” Naryshkin told state television in comments on Tuesday. “These statements are very dangerous.”

“It is sad to see, sad to observe, and sad to understand that the ability of the current elites in Europe and the North Atlantic to negotiate is at a very low level,” he said. “They rarely show any common sense at all.”

Russia and the United States have the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world. President Joe Biden has warned that the conflict between Russia and NATO could lead to World War III.

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After the Russian invasion in 2022, Western leaders said they would help Ukraine defeat Russian forces on the battlefield and expel Russian forces. Ukraine regained large swaths of territory in 2022.

But Kiev's counteroffensive in 2023 failed to penetrate Russia's heavily dug lines, and Russian forces have been pushing deeper into Ukrainian territory at a time when American support for Ukraine is intertwined with internal political debates.

Russia controls just under a fifth of the territory internationally recognized as Ukraine.

(Additional reporting by Maxim Rodionov in London, Ron Popeski in Winnipeg, Canada, and Jay Faulconbridge in Moscow; Editing by Allison Williams and Gerry Doyle)

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