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UKRAINE

Poland criticises France and Germany for being too close to Russia

Poland's deputy prime minister accused France and Germany of having too strong ties to Russia in an interview published Sunday, as he condemned Berlin's behaviour towards Moscow before the invasion of Ukraine.

Poland criticises France and Germany for being too close to Russia
A protester holds a Ukrainian flag during a rally to support Ukraine in Strasbourg, eastern France. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

“Germany, like France, has a strong bias in Moscow’s favour,” Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is also leader of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, told German daily Die Welt in an interview.

Kaczynski saved his strongest words for Berlin.

“Over the years, the German government did not want to see what Russia was doing under the leadership of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and we see the result today,” Kaczynski said.

“Poland is not pleased with Germany’s role in Europe,” he added.

He rebuked Berlin for having sought to rebuild what the former 19th century chancellor Otto von Bismarck “had done… German domination but side by side with Russia”.

The Polish deputy prime minister condemned Berlin especially for failing to deliver enough weapons to Ukraine and refusing an embargo at least on the import of oil from Russia.

“It’s important to know that Russia gets four to five times more revenue from its oil sales than gas sales,” Kaczynski said.

READ ALSO: What would Germany do if Russia cuts off the gas supply?

“We cannot continue to permanently support a great power like Russia by paying it billions,” he added.

Before Russia’s invasion on February 24th, Germany imported 55 percent of its natural gas from Russia, half its coal and around 35 percent of its oil.

Macron has previously come under criticism for his relationship with Putin and their close contact. His dealings with the Russian prime minister in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been one such sore point, according to political reports

READ ALSO: French firms under fire for continuing commercial operations in Russia

Meanwhile, France and Germany are preparing for a cut in Russian gas deliveries, France’s economy minister said on Thursday, as Putin warned Moscow will turn off supply for those who refuse to pay in rubles.

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UKRAINE

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
said.

“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.

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