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 to build new floating terminal to ensure gas supplies this winter

The French government aims to have its natural gas storage reserves at full capacity by autumn, with European countries bracing for supply cuts from major supplier Russia as the Ukraine war continues, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Thursday

France to build new floating terminal to ensure gas supplies this winter

“We are ensuring the complete filling of our storage capacities, aiming to be close to 100 percent by early autumn,” and France will also build a new floating methane terminal to receive more energy supplies by ship, Borne said.

France is much less dependant on Russian gas than its neighbours, and announced earlier this week that it has not received any Russian gas by pipeline since June 15th.

Meanwhile Germany moved closer to rationing natural gas on Thursday as it raised the alert level under an emergency plan after Russia slashed supplies to the country.

“Gas is now a scarce commodity in Germany,” Economy Minister Robert Habeck told reporters at a press conference.

French PM Borne on Thursday also confirmed that the bouclier tarifaire (price shield) will remain in pace until the end of 2022 – this freezes the price of household gas and limits rises in electricity bills for homes to four percent.