The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

France and Russia’s defense ministers discuss Ukraine

In his first telephone conversation in around a year and a half, French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu spoke with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu about the conflict in Ukraine and the fight against terrorism. The Ministry of Defense in Paris announced on Wednesday evening that Lecornu had condemned the Islamist-motivated terrorist attack near Moscow and reminded him of France's willingness to step up exchanges in the fight against terrorism. Lecornu emphasized that France had no information on a connection between the attack and Ukraine. The Minister appealed to Russia to refrain from any instrumentalization.

According to Paris, the French Defense Minister also unreservedly condemned the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. France will support Ukraine for as long and as intensively as necessary in its fight for freedom and sovereignty in order to restore peace and security on the European continent.

According to reports from Moscow, Lecornu had tried to convince the Russian side that Ukraine and the Western countries were not involved in the terrorist attack and blamed the Islamic State terrorist militia. Shoigu emphasized that the investigation would be brought to a conclusion and all those responsible would be punished. The Russian side had evidence of Ukrainian involvement in the organization of the terrorist attack. "The Kiev regime does nothing without the consent of Western curators. We trust that the French secret services are not behind this case," said Shoigu in Moscow.

With regard to the possible deployment of French troops in Ukraine, Shoigu explained that this would lead to problems for the country if implemented in practice. At the same time, the Russian minister signaled a willingness for dialogue on Ukraine. The basis for this could be the Istanbul peace initiative shortly after the start of the war, he said. At that time, the Ukraine is said to have been prepared to renounce NATO membership. In the conversation, Shoigu described a peace summit planned by Kiev in Switzerland as pointless because Moscow was not a participant.

©Keystone/SDA

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