Talk about sending troops to Ukraine is dangerous, the Italian government has said, responding to remarks by the president of France Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani. © AFP / Marco Bertorello

Italy is “not at war with Russia” and has no plans to send troops to Ukraine, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani clarified on Tuesday.

The remarks were part of a wave of denial from NATO nations about harboring any plans to deploy troops on behalf of Kiev in its fight against Moscow. Italy’s continuing support for Ukraine does not include such an option, Tajani insisted.

“When we talk about sending troops, we must be very cautious because we must not make people think we are at war with Russia,” he explained.

We are not at war with Russia.

The political firestorm was sparked by comments French President Emmanuel Macron made on Monday. Speaking to reporters following a meeting of European leaders in Paris, Macron said that the deployment of troops to Ukraine by NATO and other Western countries could not be ruled out.

“There’s no consensus today to send, in an official manner, troops on the ground,” he stated, adding, however, that the West should not stop at anything to prevent Russia from emerging victorious in the conflict.

NATO countries refuse to back Macron’s ‘troops in Ukraine’ claim NATO countries refuse to back Macron’s ‘troops in Ukraine’ claim

“In terms of dynamics, we cannot exclude anything. We will do everything necessary to prevent Russia from winning this war,” the French leader said.

The statements prompted the US and several other NATO members to publicly reject such a possibility, with the bloc’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, stressing there are “no plans for NATO combat troops on the ground in Ukraine.” The UK produced by far the weakest denial, stating only that it does not have plans for a “large-scale” troop deployment.

Moscow has condemned Macron’s remarks, cautioning the US-led bloc against hostile moves. The potential use of NATO troops in Ukraine would make a direct confrontation between the bloc and Moscow not only “possible,” but actually “inevitable,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned.

“This is absolutely not in the interests of these countries, they should be aware of this,” he said. (RT)