PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that Ukraine’s allies must stand firm against the “blackmail” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who hinted that nuclear weapons could be used in the war against Kyiv.
“Our job is to hold our line, that is to say, to help Ukraine as we do, to protect its territory and never to attack Russia,” Macron said on his return from UN General Assembly in New York.
“Russia is clearly under pressure” but “I will not engage in any escalation” of the conflict, Macron added.
Putin sounded the alarm, particularly in Europe, by threatening to defend himself with “all the means at our disposal” if he invaded Ukraine and called around 300,000 reservists into combat.
Experts have warned of Putin’s unpredictable reactions to a recent Ukrainian counteroffensive that saw him retake parts of territory seized by Russian forces since their February 24 invasion.
“Russia has decided to take a step towards escalation,” Macron said, but “you must never get carried away.”