Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, there has been a notable evolution in France’s approach toward Moscow. In the initial months following the invasion, French President Emmanuel Macron continued to engage diplomatically with Vladimir Putin, controversially insisting that the West must not humiliate Moscow, prompting harsh criticism from France’s NATO allies. After apologizing last year for France’s previous failure to listen to the warning of its Central and Eastern European allies about Russian intentions, however, the French President notably pushed last month for greater Western strategic ambiguity regarding the war, stating that he had not ruled out the possibility of sending French troops to Ukraine. This once again prompted an outcry from NATO allies wary of escalation, such as Germany and the United States. To discuss how to interpret this apparent shift in French thinking and its possible implications going forward, Tara Varma and Bruno Tertrais join Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend on Brussels Sprouts.  

Tara Varma is a visiting fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution.  

Bruno Tertrais is the Deputy Director of the Foundation for Strategic Research, a leading French think-tank on international security issues.  

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