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Moscow slams France’s ‘belligerent rhetoric’

Irresponsible statements about a possible Western troop deployment to Ukraine are escalating the conflict, the Foreign Ministry has said

The French leadership’s “belligerent rhetoric” and provocative statements around the Ukraine conflict are leading to further escalation, the Russian Foreign Ministry told France’s envoy in Moscow on Monday.

Ambassador Pierre Levy was summoned to the ministry along with British envoy Nigel Casey amid rising tensions over the Ukraine conflict. The ambassadors were seen visiting the building housing the ministry in central Moscow separately. They did not offer any comments to the press outside.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry’s press release on the meeting with Levy, the Russian side gave an assessment of France’s “destructive and provocative” approach.

“It was emphasized that the attempts of the French authorities to create some ‘strategic uncertainty’ for Russia with their irresponsible statements about the possible dispatch of Western military contingents to Ukraine are doomed to failure,” the ministry said, adding that the tasks and goals of Moscow’s military operation will be realized.

French President Emmanuel Macron has for months been advocating for what he calls “strategic ambiguity” regarding the Ukraine conflict. The idea is to keep open the option of deploying NATO troops to Ukraine to prevent a Russian victory.

In a recent interview with The Economist, Macron claimed that the supposed deterrence produced by the hypothetical deployment of French troops is necessary to prevent a Russian victory and fend off future attacks on other nations – despite Moscow denying that it has any intention to do so. 

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested in an interview on Sunday that the rhetoric stems from Macron’s wish to use “Russophobic” messages to boost the French position in the EU.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also released a statement following a meeting with Casey, saying that Moscow would retaliate against British targets in Ukraine or elsewhere if Kiev uses UK-provided missiles to strike Russian territory. This followed remarks by British Foreign Secretary David Cameron to Reuters that Ukraine has the right to use long-range missiles sent by the UK to strike deep inside Russia.

On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced an exercise to test the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons. President Vladimir Putin ordered the drills after the “provocative statements and threats” by Western officials, the military said.

 

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