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UKRAINE

France: Putin has broken international laws

France’s Foreign Minister vowed to put pressure on the Russian President Vladimir Putin through diplomacy accusing him of violating international laws by sending troops into Ukraine. Paris said, however, it would not be suspending its military contracts with Moscow.

France: Putin has broken international laws
France wants diplomacy to end Russian intervention in Ukraine. Here protesters in New Work demonstrate against Russian military aggression in Ukraine. Photo: Getty/AFP

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France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says he still hopes to prevent any armed conflict in the Ukraine through diplomacy, but again expressed his outrage at Moscow’s decision to send troops into the Crimean region of southern Ukraine.

“It’s a clear violation of international laws,” Fabius said, before ruling out, for the moment, any military intervention by European forces.

“This is a violation of Ukrainian sovereignty. We want to stop the Russian intervention and establish a dialogue,” he said, before once again stressing the need to protect the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

"It is an absolute necessity to protect the unity and integrity of Ukraine," he said saying a "convergence" of diplomatic power involving the EU, G7 countries and NATO was needed to put pressure on Moscow to halt its military intervention.

Despite France repeatedly evoking its outrage over Russia sending in its forces to Ukraine, Paris does not intend to suspend its military contracts with Russia, Fabius said on Monday.

Russia ordered two battleships from France in 2011 with an option for two more, but despite French anger over Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine, Paris says the order will go ahead.

“We’re not at that point yet,” he told RTL radio.

(Laurent Fabius in previous talks with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov)

Russia and US to attend talks in Paris

The US and Russian foreign ministers will attend French-sponsored talks in Paris Wednesday on helping Lebanon cope with the conflict in Syria, but the talks look set to be overshadowed by the Ukraine crisis, France said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was scheduled to come for the meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon meeting but French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Monday that Russia's Sergei Lavrov would also
attend the conference.

Lavrov "will come here day after tomorrow as France is hosting a meeting on Lebanon," Fabius told RTL radio.

"I am meeting him on that day, the day after and possibly" for a bilateral meeting ahead of the Lebanon talks in Paris, he said.

Fabius's entourage said he and Lavrov would discuss the escalating Ukraine conflict on the sidelines of the Lebanon Group meeting.

Russia's G8 partners have denounced Russia's moves on Ex-Soviet Ukraine and have suspended preparations for the G8 summit in Sochi in June.

The support group for Lebanon was set up last year to help Beirut deal with the implications of the brutal war in Syria that began in March 2011. It is intended to provide financial, political and security support to the small nation.

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UKRAINE

Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi have met the Ukrainian president in Kyiv, after the trio travelled overnight by train from Poland.

Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

The three leaders left in the early hours of Thursday, arriving into Kyiv on Thursday morning. After a visit to the heavily-bombed town of Irpin, they met Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

It is the first time that the leaders of the three European Union countries have visited Kyiv since Russia’s February 24th invasion of Ukraine, and the visit comes as Kyiv is pushing for membership of the EU.

Macron has been paying a two-day visit to Romania and Moldova to discuss the ongoing crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There had been widespread speculation in France that he would combine the trip with a visit to Zelensky in Ukraine, but this was not confirmed until Thursday morning.

In a joint press conference with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, Macron reiterated his desire that Ukraine should win the war, but added that eventually negotiations between Ukraine and Russia will be necessary.

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