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Italy Warns Sending NATO Troops Into Ukraine Could Lead to a ‘Third World War’, Accuses Macron of Exploiting Conflict for Political Purposes

Sending NATO troops into Ukraine would trigger a “Third World War”, warned Italian Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani, who went on to accuse French President Emmanuel Macron of exploiting the war for personal political purposes.

Senior Italian government officials castigated President Macron for his recent spate of militaristic suggestions that NATO soldiers could be deployed to Ukraine and therefore potentially engage with Russia.

Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani said that Italy’s position is “very clear”, saying that while Rome plans to continue supporting Kyiv’s fight to fight back the Russians, both through financial and military aid, this does not mean Italy is at war with Russia and, therefore, there will be “no direct intervention by our military in that conflict is envisaged, with tanks, planes or men.”

“It has never been discussed within NATO and we don’t understand why today we need to evoke such a scenario, which would have very dangerous consequences, even a Third World War,” Tajani warned.

“Our goal is to achieve peace, not to widen the war. This is why we help Ukraine to resist, this is why they will not be left alone, to reach an end to hostilities without one state having occupied the other. But it has nothing to do, I stress, with our direct intervention,” he told the Milan-based Corriere della Sera newspaper.

The senior Italian politician went on to suggest that President Macron might be engaging in political posturing, noting that the “electoral campaign” for the European Parliament elections is in full swing, with voters set to head to the polls in three months. Macron — who is coming off a disastrous year plagued by riots, strikes and political chaos — is currently trailing far behind Marine Le Pen’s populist right-wing National Rally party, which is projected to come in first place in France; an outcome that would likely damage Macron’s standing at home and abroad.

“I don’t understand, I don’t know if it’s the electoral campaign that has an impact, influencing the attitude of many leaders when it comes to voting. Maybe he wants to highlight the differences with pro-Russian parties like Le Pen’s. But we are in a completely different position,” Tajani said.

Macron’s comments were also criticised by Italian Minister of Defence, Guido Crosetto, who said in an interview with La Repubblica that Western leaders should “avoid sensational declarations… such as sending NATO to Ukraine” while also accusing the French leader of being driven by “internal political reasons.”

Crosetto went on to criticise the so-called “Weimar Triangle” meeting between the leaders of France, Germany, and Poland in Berlin on Friday, in which they agreed to ramp up military production to supply Ukraine with more weapons and munitions.

The defence minister said that NATO should “avoid splitting up into two or three-person meetings when there are 27 of us in Europe” while arguing that it is important to present a unified front against Russia with a “clear, non-contradictory strategy on this side, and perhaps one built together as a coalition.”

“Our interest is to re-establish a world order in which international law is respected and no one has to fear being brutally attacked and invaded. In any case, I can assure you that Italian troops will never go to Ukraine,” Crosetto concluded.

Meanwhile, influential government coalition partner and Transport Minister, Matteo Salvini also expressed criticism of Macron. Responding on X to an article discussing the French leader’s suggestion of sending troops into Ukraine, Salvini wrote: “Preparing for war? No, we must rebuild Peace.”

Despite being rebuffed by Italy and previously by Germany, President Macron doubled down on the notion of sending soldiers into Ukraine, saying that while he would not take the first step, it is possible that “at some point…we will have to have operations on the ground, whatever they may be, to counter the Russian forces.”

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