PARIS, France - French President Emmanuel Macron said France was 'stepping up' the work to prevent escalation of the war in Ukraine while ruling out again any direct participation of French troops in an address in Brussels Thursday.
'We have decided to step up the work to prevent escalation and organize ourselves in case it happens. We are acting on the need to continue adapting our posture to the new strategic circumstances caused by the war in Ukraine and its consequences', the French President said as he highlighted the participation of 3200 French military personnel in NATO exercises.
However, Macron, echoing statements he's repeatedly made in the past, drew a red line at becoming a 'co - belligerent' in the war - ruling out any direct French military participation.
'We continue to stand by the side of the Ukrainian people with military, economic and humanitarian support', he said.
'Our determination has led us to adopt with unity an unprecedented series of sanctions', Macron said.
The French President also described 'increasing isolation for Russia' and a unified response on the part of NATO allies and the EU.
'Russia has taken a historic responsibility by starting this war. Our strategy is to do everything to stop any escalation and stop as quickly as possible this conflict through our support to Ukraine, our sanctions and the discussions that continue between a few of us and [Russian] President Putin to find the way and means to a negotiated solution', he said.