WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s foreign minister says the presence of NATO forces “is not unthinkable” and that he appreciates the French president for not ruling out that idea.

Radek Sikorski made the observation during a discussion marking the 25th anniversary of Poland’s NATO membership in the Polish parliament on Friday, and the Foreign Ministry tweeted the comments later in English.

Last month French President Emmanuel Macron said the possibility of Western troops being sent to Ukraine could not be ruled out, a comment that prompted an outcry from other leaders.

French officials later sought to clarify Macron’s remarks and tamp down the backlash, while insisting on the need to send a clear signal to Russia that it cannot win its war in Ukraine.

The Kremlin has warned that if NATO sends combat troops, a direct conflict between the alliance and Russia would be inevitable. Russian President Vladimir Putin said such a move would risk a global nuclear conflict.

Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk was among those European leaders who ruled out sending troops to Ukraine after Macron’s remarks, saying: “Poland does not plan to send its troops to the territory of Ukraine.”

Sikorski did not speak of a plan to send Polish troops to Ukraine, but struck a different tone.

“The presence of #NATO forces in Ukraine is not unthinkable,” he said, according to the Foreign Ministry. He said he appreciated Macron’s initiative “because it is about Putin being afraid, not us being afraid of Putin.”

Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Tusk will travel to Washington for a meeting at the White House next Tuesday. The Poles are hoping to spur the United States to do more to help Ukraine.

Poland is a member of NATO along the alliance’s eastern flank, with Ukraine across its eastern border. The country has been under Russian control in the past, and fears run high that if Russia wins in Ukraine, it could next target other countries in a region that Moscow views as its sphere of interest.

Brought to you by www.srnnews.com