Ukraine welcomes West's discussion of direct intervention, Russia warns against it


Adds quotes, Russian comment, details

KYIV, Feb 27 (Reuters) - A senior Ukrainian official on Tuesday welcomed talk of European nations sending troops to Ukraine, but the Kremlin said a conflict between Russia and NATO would become inevitable if European members of the alliance sent in troops to fight.

French President Emmanuel Macron raised the possibility on Monday of European nations sending troops to Ukraine, but cautioned that there was no consensus.

"This shows, firstly, an absolute awareness of the risks posed to Europe by a militaristic, aggressive Russia," Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said in a written comment on Macron's statement.

Some 20 European leaders gathered in Paris on Monday to send Russian President Vladimir Putin a message of European resolve on Ukraine and counter the Kremlin's narrative that Russia is bound to win a war now in its third year.

"The opening of a discussion on the possibility of direct support of Ukraine by armed forces should be seen as a desire to set the right accents, to highlight the risks more clearly," Podolyak added.

He said it was important at this stage to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to Ukraine.

Asked about Macron's remarks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: "The very fact of discussing the possibility of sending certain contingents to Ukraine from NATO countries is a very important new element."

Asked what the risks of a direct Russia-NATO conflict would be if NATO members sent their troops to fight in Ukraine, Peskov said: "In that case, we would need to talk not about the probability, but about the inevitability (of a direct conflict)."

A White House official told Reuters that the United States had no plans to send troops to fight in Ukraine and that there were also no plans to send NATO troops to fight in Ukraine.

(Reporting by Reuters, and by Pavel Polityuk in Kyiv; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Timothy Heritage)

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