France's Macron says 'clear red lines' should be drawn with Russia

Reuters , Sunday 18 Apr 2021

'We have to define clear red lines with Russia,' Macron said, according to a video excerpt of the interview to be aired later on Sunday

French President Emmanuel Macron, seen during a hospital visit in the city of Reims on April 14, 2021, has called for 'clear red lines' against unacceptable behavior AFP

World powers should draw 'clear red lines' with Russia and consider possible sanctions against Moscow when they're crossed, French President Emmanuel Macron told US news network CBS in an interview.

' We have to define clear red lines with Russia,'  Macron said, according to a video excerpt of the interview to be aired later on Sunday.

'This is the only way to be credible. Sanctions are not sufficient in themselves but sanctions are part of the package,' he said, adding that he also agreed with US President Joe Biden's willingness to open a dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a time of festering tensions.

Macron's remarks departed from France's previous stance on Russia and shifted the country closer to its US ally.

Since his election in 2017, the French leader had tried to reduce distrust between Russia and the West, hoping to enlist Russian help in solving the world's most intractable crises.

Macron's comments come amid some of the worst friction between the United States and Russia since the 1989 end of the Cold War.

The United States last week imposed a broad array of sanctions on Russia, including curbs to its sovereign debt market, ove what it said was Moscow's interference in last year's US election, Russian cyber hacking, bullying of Ukraine and other alleged malign actions.

Washington also expelled 10 Russian diplomats.

In response, Russia on Friday told 10 US diplomats to leave the country and suggested the US ambassador return home for consultations.

In Europe, tensions between Moscow and Kyiv have also been rising amid a build-up of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine and clashes in that country's east between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on Friday for peace talks with Moscow.

In another sign of broader tensions, the Czech Republic said on Sunday it had informed NATO and European Union allies about suspected Russian involvement in a 2014 ammunition depot explosion and the matter would be addressed at an EU foreign ministers' meeting on Monday.

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