France condemns Putin’s ‘paranoid’ speech on Ukraine, to introduce sanctions

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France will introduce “targeted sanctions” against Russian interests in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send troops to east Ukraine, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said on Tuesday.

“We are going to implement appropriate and targeted sanctions against Russian interests with our European partners,” Le Maire told journalists, adding that France reserved the right to “step up” the sanctions if Putin went further in his actions.

France described an address to the nation by Putin on Ukraine as "paranoid" on Monday, accusing him of breaking promises made to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

Putin's speech, in which he recognised as independent two Ukrainian separatist regions, mixed "rigid and paranoid" ideas", a French presidential official said, adding the Russian leader had "not respected promises made" to Macron.

The official, who asked not to be named, said further Russian "military actions" were not to be ruled out and added the EU was preparing a list of Russian entities and individuals to sanction in a "proportionate" response.

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Putin had "made a clear choice to break his commitments," said the official, adding that discussions would begin on Tuesday in Brussels on drawing up the sanctions.

In an earlier statement, Macron had condemned Putin's move and called for targeted European sanctions against Russia.

Macron had engaged in frenetic diplomacy on Sunday in a bid to broker a summit between Putin and US President Joe Biden to ease the soaring tensions over Ukraine which have raised fears of a Russian invasion of its neighbour.

But the idea so far has only met with a lukewarm response from the Kremlin and the future of such diplomatic initiatives remains unclear.

(FRANCE 24 with Reuters and AFP)

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