© dia images/Getty ImagesRussian FM Sergey Lavrov • Antalya Diplomacy Forum • March 1, 2024 • Antalya, Turkey
French President Emmanuel Macron may be using Russophobia to satisfy his ambition of leading the EU, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has claimed.

Speaking to the Bosnian Serb Alternativna TV on Sunday, Lavrov noted the French leader's recent interview with The Economist in which he called Moscow the main threat to EU security, adding that Macron has adopted an "ardent" anti-Russian stance.

Lavrov explained:
"According to the French leader, the ambitions of Adolf Hitler and Napoleon were driven by the fact that these countries saw Russia as a threat. I know how the power system is set up in France and how the French tend to see their role in Europe. I do not rule out that this 'caveman' Russophobia that Macron is currently 'breathing' might be necessary in order to try and become the leader in Europe, by leveraging this topic."
In recent months, Macron has made several statements which Moscow has criticized as "dangerous talk," accusing the French leader of "verbal escalation."

In the interview with The Economist, he outlined his "strategic objective" of preventing Russia from prevailing in the conflict with Ukraine, saying French troops could be deployed "If the Russians were to break through the front lines."

He also called for a debate on building a pan-European defense capability, including anti-missile shields and long-range weapons "that would deter the Russians," arguing that the EU should rethink its nuclear capability.

Moscow has maintained that it has no plans or interest in targeting any European nations, saying that some leaders resort to fearmongering to distract people from domestic problems.