On the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, spoke on the telephone today, Saturday 19 February, to his Russian counterpart Mr Sergei Lavrov.
The Minister expressed his deep concern about the escalation under way in eastern Ukraine over the past few days. The exceptional number of ceasefire violations noted by the OSCE mission contravene the commitments made in recent discussions in the Normandy format. The Minister warned of consequences for Russia in the event of any further attack on Ukraine's territorial integrity. He expressed his certainty about the Europeans and their allies' united response to such an attack, in the form of massive sanctions. The French presidency of the Council of the European Union will shoulder all its responsibilities in this respect.
On the basis of the response issued by the Russian authorities on 17 February and in particular his discussions with his American colleague, the Minister noted that a window for dialogue was still possible. Along with its partners, France remains determined to work and contribute towards this. But it is up to Russia to opt for such a dialogue if it sincerely wants to do so. There is currently a gap between what Russia is doing and saying.