MOSCOW, May 8 (Reuters) - Russia warned France on Wednesday that if President Emmanuel Macron sent troops to Ukraine then they would be seen as legitimate targets by the Russian military.

Macron caused controversy in February by saying he could not rule out the deployment of ground troops in Ukraine in the future. The French leader warned that if Russia wins in Ukraine then Europe's credibility will be reduced to zero.

"It is characteristic that Macron himself explains this rhetoric with the desire to create some kind of 'strategic uncertainty' for Russia," Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters.

"We have to disappoint him - for us the situation looks more than certain," Zakharova said.

"If the French appear in the conflict zone, they will inevitably become targets for the Russian armed forces. It seems to me that Paris already has proof of this."

Zakharova said Russia was already seeing growing numbers of French nationals among those killed in Ukraine.

Russia said on Monday it would practise the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons as part of a military exercise after what the Moscow said were threats from France, Britain and the United States.

Photo from Reuters