French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described Russia as “sometimes a terrible and unbearable” neighbor, with whom, nevertheless, it is necessary to maintain long-term relations, writes 20 Minutes. The head of French diplomacy condemned the imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and reprisals against his supporters, and also stated the effectiveness of the sanctions imposed by the European Union in response to such authoritarian actions by the Kremlin.
During the discussion of Russian-French relations in the National Assembly, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian moved away from the diplomatic language, reports 20 minutes. He described Russia as a “sometimes terrible, sometimes unbearable, sometimes completely condemnable” neighbor.
“In spite of everything, we must try to maintain long-term relations with Russia, to maintain a dialogue,” the head of French diplomacy stressed, answering the questions of the Foreign Affairs Commission regarding the case of Alexei Navalny. “We will not give up these plans, because this is our neighbor.” According to the minister, it is necessary “to try to find and maintain ties with Russia, but at the same time take a very tough stance and condemn the actions of the authorities in relation to Alexei Navalny.” Jean-Yves Le Drian once again pointed out that Russia followed an “extremely authoritarian” scenario, referring to the verdict of the opposition leader and repressions against the demonstrators demanding his release.
The French Foreign Minister also noted the effectiveness of the sanctions imposed by Europe against high-ranking Russian officials who were involved in the trial of Navalny and the punishment of his supporters. “They do not allow [these individuals] to visit the European Union, to gain access to their own assets in the EU. This is not a trifle, ”20 minutes quotes the words of the French Foreign Minister.