European countries may be drawn into a military conflict if Ukraine is admitted to the North Atlantic Alliance, Russian leader Vladimir Putin said at a press conference following talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, February 8.
“Imagine that Ukraine is a member of NATO. The fifth article has not been repealed, on the contrary, Mr. Biden, the President of the United States recently said that the fifth article is an absolute imperative and will be implemented. This means that there will be a military confrontation between Russia and NATO. And I asked at a press conference last time: “What are we going to fight with NATO?” But I want to ask you too, is there a second part of this question: “Do you want to fight with Russia?” You ask your readers, viewers, users of Internet resources: “Do you want France to fight with Russia?” But this is how it will be,” the Russian leader explained, answering a question from a French journalist.
Putin added why the possible admission of Ukraine to NATO is so dangerous. He recalled that European countries, including France, consider Crimea allegedly part of Ukraine, and in the Russian Federation – part of Russia.
“And if attempts are made to change this situation by military means, and Ukraine’s doctrinal documents state that Russia is an adversary and it is possible to return Crimea by military means… If Ukraine joins NATO and regains Crimea by military means, European countries will automatically be conflict with Russia. Of course, the potential of the joint organization of NATO and Russia is incomparable,” he said.
Putin stressed that in the event of such a military conflict, there would be no winners.
The talks between Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart took place on Monday, February 7, in the Kremlin. The conversation between the two leaders lasted more than five hours. Putin and Macron began their conversation in the representative office of the first building of the Kremlin, and continued over a working lunch. The meeting ended around midnight, after which the presidents of Russia and France held a final press conference.
Meeting his French counterpart, President Putin noted that he had not seen Macron in person for two years, so there were many issues that could and should be discussed in a direct format. The French leader noted that a dialogue with Russia is necessary as the only way to ensure real stability and security for the European continent.
After meeting with the Russian President, the French leader intends to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev on February 8.