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8 Apr, 2024 02:20

France rejecting antiterrorism cooperation – Moscow

Paris has suspended all communication in the field, despite receiving help in the past, the Russian ambassador said
France rejecting antiterrorism cooperation – Moscow

Paris has cut off counterterrorism collaboration with Moscow just months before the Olympic Games, Russian Ambassador Aleksey Meshkov said on Sunday in an interview with the French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche.

His remarks came two weeks after more than 140 people were killed during a terrorist attack on the Crocus City Hall concert venue outside Moscow. France, which will host the summer Olympics in July and August, raised the terrorism alert and ramped up security in Paris following the massacre.

Meshkov said the two countries have historically worked together to fight terrorism, but “recently France has cut off all communication in this field. The facts are undeniable: today, France offers significant support to Ukraine in terms of information exchange, while Ukraine carries out terrorist activities in Russia.”

Ukraine has been engaged in assassinations and sabotage on Russian soil since Moscow launched its military operation in February 2022. Although the jihadist group Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) claimed responsibility for the attack on Crocus City Hall, Russian investigators say they found evidence pointing to Kiev’s possible involvement.

“A few years ago, Russia shared its expertise on security during the [2014] Sochi Olympics with France. Today, however, the French authorities have set up a special mechanism to work with all accredited foreign embassies in Paris on security matters, but the Russian embassy has not been invited or informed about this initiative,” Meshkov said.

The diplomat pledged that Russia will notify Paris if it receives information about a security threat during the Games. Communication will be difficult, however, because the embassy has been “completely cut off from any exchange of information on the preparations for the Olympic Games,” Meshkov stressed. “There is no dialogue with us.”

On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron claimed that Russia was running a disinformation campaign aimed at undermining the upcoming Games. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the accusation as “absolutely unfounded.”

Relations between the countries have remain strained as France continues to be one of the main supporters of Ukraine in Europe. Moscow has repeatedly criticized Paris for sending SCALP-EG cruise missiles and other weapons to Ukraine, and has accused it of allowing French “mercenaries” to fight for Kiev.