France sees 'no breakthrough' in Russia-Ukraine talks

AFP , Wednesday 30 Mar 2022

France sees no sign of a breakthrough in talks between Ukraine and Russia and will wait for Kremlin actions to follow words, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Wednesday.

Jean-Yves Le Drian
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. AFP

"The war continues, and for now as far as I know there is no breakthrough or anything new," Le Drian said in an interview with broadcasters France 24 and RFI.

Russia's negotiators had suggested Tuesday that Moscow would reduce military activities in northern Ukraine and around Kyiv, after a new round of talks with the Ukrainians in Istanbul.

But Le Drian recalled that shelling of the capital had continued overnight and that southern port city Mariupol remains under siege.

"There are many statements from the Russian authorities... I will only believe actions," he said.

"It may also be that this period where more in-depth talks have been announced is used by the Russians to regroup their forces," Le Drian added.

Paris' top diplomat said that France was "completely available to speak with President (Volodymyr) Zelensky about how to ensure guarantees" of Ukraine's security, seen as indispensable for a negotiated halt to the fighting.

"The problem is, there needs to be a real negotiation," he added, urging a meeting between Zelensky and Russia's Vladimir Putin.

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