French President Emmanuel Macron (right) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (agencies)

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned that sending troops to Ukraine would not be in the West's interest, in response to statements by French President Emmanuel Macron in which he did not rule out sending Western ground forces to fight in support of Kiev.

Peskov said - during a press conference on Tuesday - that sending European forces to Ukraine "would not be in the interest of those countries at all, and they must realize that," and explained that raising this possibility constitutes a "very important new element" in the conflict.

Macron announced new steps to support Ukraine in its battle against Russia, saying that it is not unlikely to send Western ground forces to achieve Europe's goal of defeating Moscow, at a time when European doubts remain about continued American support for Kiev.

In his speech at the end of an international conference in support of Ukraine that included more than 20 European leaders, Macron painted a bleak picture of Russia, whose positions he said were “hardening” at home and on the battlefield.

"We are convinced that defeating Russia is necessary for security and stability in Europe," he said, adding that Moscow was showing a more aggressive stance not only in Ukraine but in general.

Macron noted that although there is no consensus on sending Western ground forces to Ukraine, nothing should be ruled out, and added, "We will do everything necessary to ensure that Russia cannot win this war."

The French President added that it was decided to create a coalition to conduct strikes in depth, and then to supply Ukraine with medium- and long-range missiles and bombs.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Polish President Andrzej Duda were among about 20 heads of state and government present at the conference, during which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a video speech.

British Foreign Minister David Cameron, and countries including the United States and Canada, also participated in the conference.

Source: Al Jazeera + agencies