France condemns ‘paranoid’ Putin address as Macron demands sanctions against Russia

France on Monday described as paranoid an address to the nation by President Vladimir Putin on Ukraine, accusing the Russian leader of breaking promises made to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. The French president has called for targeted European sanctions.

France condemns 'paranoid' Putin address as Macron demands sanctions against Russia
French President Emmanuel Macron attends a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin (off frame) in Moscow, early on February 8, 2022. (Photo by Sergei GUNEYEV / SPUTNIK / AFP)

Putin’s speech, in which he recognised as independent two Ukrainian separatist regions, mixed “rigid and paranoid” ideas”, a French presidential official said, saying the Russian leader had “not respected promises made” to Macron.

The official, who asked not to named, said further Russian “military actions” were not to be ruled out and added the EU was preparing a list of Russian entities and individuals to sanction in a “proportionate” response.

Earlier Macron  condemned the Kremlin’s move to recognise two eastern Ukrainian separatist regions as independent, urging the European Union to agree new sanctions against Moscow.

“The president condemns the decision…. He is demanding an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council as well as the adoption of targeted European sanctions,” the French presidency said in a statement.

“This is clearly a unilateral violation of Russia’s international commitments and a breach of Ukraine’s sovereignty,” it added.

The statement was issued after Macron chaired a meeting of France’s defence and security council to assess the situation in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier recognised the independence of the two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, defying warnings from the West this could trigger sweeping sanctions.

Macron had engaged in frenetic diplomacy on Sunday in a bid to broker a summit between Putin and US President Joe Biden to ease the soaring tensions over Ukraine which have raised fears of a Russian invasion of its neighbour.

But the idea so far has only met with a lukewarm response from the Kremlin.

There was no mention of continued diplomatic contacts in the Elysee statement.

French officials have previously said that the situation in eastern Ukraine is dangerous but every chance must be used to prevent war.

Earlier Monday, Macron again spoke with Putin as well as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the presidency said earlier.

He also spoke twice with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and conferred with European Council President Charles Michel and EU Commission head Ursula Von der Leyen.

Earlier Monday, France had announced that Russia’s foreign minister SergeiLavrov would meet his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris on Friday.

Member comments

  1. The separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk want to be independent and retain close links with Russia. The way out of war is to acknowledge this reality, something similar was done in Kosovo much to the displeasure of the Serbs and Belgrade.

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France ‘strongly condemns’ Russia’s expulsion of its diplomats

France "strongly condemns" the expulsion of 34 of its diplomats by Russia, the foreign ministry said Wednesday, a tit-for-tat move by Moscow after Paris ordered some Russian staff to leave.

France 'strongly condemns' Russia's expulsion of its diplomats

Saying the step had “no legitimate basis”, the ministry said in a statementthat “the work of the diplomats and staff at (France’s) embassy in Russia… takes place fully within the framework of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic and consular relations” — whereas Paris expelled the Russian staff in April on suspicion of being spies.

Moscow said Wednesday it was expelling 34 “employees of French diplomatic missions” in a tit-for-tat move following the
expulsion of Russian diplomats from France as part of joint European action over Russia’s campaign in Ukraine.

“Thirty four employees of French diplomatic missions in Russia have been declared persona non grata,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that they have two weeks to leave the country.

Moscow made the announcement after summoning France’s ambassador to Russia, Pierre Levy, and telling him that the expulsion of 41 employees of Russian diplomatic missions was a “provocative and unfounded decision”, the statement

“It has been stressed that this step causes serious damage to Russian-French relations and constructive bilateral cooperation,” the foreign ministry said.

French President Emmanuel Macron initially led diplomatic outreach to the Kremlin over Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine but his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin have eventually tapered off and overt French military
support to Ukraine has increased in recent months.