© XinhuaRussian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov attends the Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Antalya, Turkey, on March 1, 2024.
Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has revealed that military officers from the United States, United Kingdom, and France are present in Ukraine rather than only mercenaries from those countries.

"Before the coup d'etat [in Ukraine], hundreds of US citizens occupied seats in ministries, just as they now allegedly have their own mercenaries, but in fact there are military officers there — there are UK and French (officers)," Lavrov said Friday.

"We are well aware of this," he added.

While taking part in the third Diplomacy Forum in Antalya, Turkey, which welcomed delegates from 147 countries, Lavrov further said that NATO troops are already present in Ukraine, and that French President Emmanuel Macron didn't misspeak over the possibility of NATO sending troops to Kiev.

"I don't think he misspoke," Lavrov said at the forum, in response to Macron's Monday remarks, who did not rule out that NATO troops could be sent to Ukraine, and that "everything that is necessary" must be done to ensure the defeat of Russia, including deploying troops.

"The very fact that they want to deploy troops has been expressed explicitly, but unofficially, they (NATO) are already there," he added.

"Ukraine would not be able to use these so-called long-ranged weapons against Russian cities without these instructors."

"We all understand this perfectly well, he said, adding that there is abundant evidence to prove his claim.

On Monday, the French president stated that the possibility of sending troops to Ukraine could not be dismissed, despite the lack of "consensus" on the matter.

"There is no consensus at this stage... to send troops on the ground," Macron said.

"Nothing should be excluded. We will do everything that we must so that Russia does not win."

Macron's statement immediately prompted several French officials to enhance the manifestations of his words onto the European Union and the global community, according to Lavrov.

"Many there (in the EU), including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, began to categorically deny (Macron's claims)," he said.

"But Macron's officials, including the new foreign minister (Stephane Sejourne), hurried to say that he meant something different - that troops could be sent there not to fight but to teach and this may not lead to a war with Russia," the top Russian diplomat added.