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.