France to send medical aid – including iodine tablets – to Ukraine

France is to send medical aid to Ukraine including iodine tablets, which help protect against the effects of exposure to radiation, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

France to send medical aid - including iodine tablets - to Ukraine
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. (Photo: Olivier Douliery / Pool / AFP)

“Yes, we have sent different medical products,” Le Drian told France 2 television in response to a question on the sending of the tablets.

Earlier, France’s ambassador in Ukraine, Etienne de Poncins, told BMFTV that 2.5 million doses were to be sent to Ukraine in the coming days.

Le Drian said French President Emmanuel Macron had contacted Russian President Vladimir Putin early Sunday to raise the issue of nuclear safety.

Macron had expressed his “serious concern” for the safety of Romania nuclear sites after Russian attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant on Friday.

Putin had said he was ready to respect IAEA norms for the protection of power stations and agreed to open talks with the agency, the French presidency told the media.

Macron’s view – and that of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – was that Russia had to accept Ukrainian sovereignty over its own power stations for the safety not just of Ukraine but the whole of Europe, said Le Drian.

The IAEA governors hold their quarterly meeting on Monday in Vienna and the agency’s director general, Rafael Grossi is due to speak to the press early in the afternoon.

READ ALSO French pharmacists report requests for iodine tablets over nuclear fears

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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.