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6 Feb, 2024 15:48

Russia slams France’s ‘dangerous’ Ukraine stance

Paris should not turn a blind eye to French weapons being used by Kiev to target civilians, the foreign ministry in Moscow warned
Russia slams France’s ‘dangerous’ Ukraine stance

France’s policy of backing Ukraine and trying to justify Kiev’s actions is “counterproductive and dangerous,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova insisted on Monday.

Paris claimed last week that three French humanitarian workers had been killed and three others wounded in a Russian strike on Ukrainian-held territory. French President Emmanuel Macron called the incident a “cowardly act,” while the country's foreign minister, Stephane Sejourne, described it as an example of “Russian barbarity.”

Zakharova said that these statements, which “came close to crossing the line,” have not gone unnoticed in Moscow.

She stressed that Russian authorities were unaware of the details of the incident mentioned by Paris, but insisted that “the death of people is always a tragedy.”

“While being outraged by the deaths of their compatriots, French leaders cynically prefer to turn a blind eye to the fact that the weapons that they supply are being deliberately used by the Kiev regime to kill civilians in Russian cities,” the spokeswoman stated.

Zakharova said Paris had tried to “justify” acts of terrorism, referring to a statement by the French Foreign Ministry, which claimed in January that Ukraine was “acting in self-defense” when it carried out a strike on the Russian city of Belgorod, in which 25 civilians were killed and over a hundred others wounded.

She added that the recent deaths of French nationals may cause the public to “question even more the relevance of the counterproductive and dangerous line of their own leadership regarding the conflict in Ukraine.”

The growing involvement of France in the conflict “not only leads to its prolongation and further escalation, but also endangers the lives of French citizens,” Zakharova said, pointing out that many “saturated by anti-Russian propaganda and with silent consent from the authorities, travel to the combat zone as mercenaries or volunteers.”

Last month, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that it had killed over 60 foreign fighters in a precision strike on the Ukrainian city of Kharkov, saying that most of them were French speakers.

The French Foreign Ministry initially denied the country has mercenaries “in Ukraine nor elsewhere.” However, Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu later acknowledged that a number of French nationals, who were not connected to the country's armed forces had enlisted to fight alongside Ukrainian troops.