Head of French Senate wants sanctions lifted off Russia - Matviyenko

Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko. © Vladimir Astapkovich
President of French Senate Gerard Larcher strongly opposes sanctions against Russia and Russian parliamentarians, Federation Council Chairman Valentina Matviyenko said after a telephone conversation with her counterpart.

Monsieur Larcher supports lifting the economic sanctions against Russia. He is also strongly against any sanctions against parliamentarians, any restrictions in their work,” she told reporters on Wednesday.

Earlier this week former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon called upon President Francois Hollande to cancel all sanctions against Russia so the two countries can unite in the common fight against terrorism. Fillon called the French authorities’ reluctance to cooperate with Russia the main mistake in the whole anti-terror campaign and said that the start of such cooperation would “pave the road to a larger anti-terror coalition.”

In July this year, member of the French National Assembly Thierry Mariani also said that in his opinion there were no grounds to keep the sanctions against Russia in place. He said this while on a visit to Crimea with a delegation of other French parliamentarians.

READ MORE: No grounds to keep Russia sanctions in place – French MPs visiting Crimea

The United States, the EU members and other Western nations introduced sanctions against Russian officials and companies in July 2014 over the alleged Russian involvement in the Ukrainian crisis and the reunification of the Russian Federation with the Republic of Crimea.

Russia retaliated with the major embargo on food imports from the countries that started the ‘sanctions war’, expanding it as Western countries introduced new sanctions on their part.

Top Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin and PM Dmitry Medvedev have repeatedly stated that all attempts to influence Russian policies with external pressure were doomed to fail.

In September this year, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said the country’s leaders had no illusion about sanctions being lifted, but added that Moscow could survive regardless of the continuous western pressure. The diplomat also called the sanctions a “true instrument of aggressive foreign policy.”

READ MORE: Moscow ready for more sanctions, regardless of Ukraine crisis – Foreign Ministry