Italy Cautions Against NATO Troop Deployment in Ukraine, Citing Risk of Escalating to a Global Conflict; Accuses Macron of Exploiting Crisis for Political Gain

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani cautioned that deploying NATO troops into Ukraine could ignite a global conflict, dubbing it a “Third World War.” Tajani further accused French President Emmanuel Macron of leveraging the conflict for personal political gain. Senior officials in the Italian government criticized Macron for his recent advocacy of militaristic measures, particularly the proposal to deploy NATO forces in Ukraine, which could lead to confrontations with Russia.

Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani reiterated Italy’s unequivocal stance, affirming that while Rome remains committed to aiding Kyiv financially and militarily against the Russian aggression, this commitment does not imply Italy’s involvement in a direct military confrontation with Russia. He clarified that Italy has no plans for direct military intervention in the conflict, ruling out the deployment of tanks, planes, or personnel.

“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 official insinuated that President Macron could be engaging in political maneuvering, pointing out the ongoing “electoral campaign” for the European Parliament elections, scheduled in three months. Macron, facing setbacks from a tumultuous year marked by protests, strikes, and political turbulence, currently trails behind Marine Le Pen’s populist right-wing National Rally party. Such a scenario, where Le Pen’s party is projected to secure first place in France, could potentially undermine Macron’s domestic and international credibility.

“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.

Italian Minister of Defense, Guido Crosetto, expressed criticism towards Macron’s remarks, cautioning against sensational declarations like deploying NATO to Ukraine and accusing the French leader of being influenced by “internal political reasons.” Crosetto further denounced the “Weimar Triangle” meeting held in Berlin, where the leaders of France, Germany, and Poland agreed to increase military production to bolster Ukraine’s arsenal with additional weapons and munitions.

The defense minister emphasized the importance of NATO maintaining unity by avoiding smaller, exclusive meetings when all 27 members are present in Europe. He stressed the necessity of presenting a unified stance against Russia, advocating for a cohesive strategy devoid of contradictions, possibly crafted collectively as a coalition effort.

“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.

In the meantime, Matteo Salvini, an influential government coalition partner and Transport Minister, also voiced disapproval of Macron. In response to an article discussing Macron’s proposal to send troops into Ukraine, Salvini wrote on X, “Preparing for war? No, we must rebuild Peace.”

Despite facing opposition from Italy and previously from Germany, President Macron remained steadfast in his proposal to deploy troops into Ukraine. He stated that while he would not initiate such action, there might come a point where “we will have to carry out ground operations, whatever they may be, to counter the Russian forces.”