Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas spoke jointly with their Russian counterpart this afternoon.
The Minister underscored France’s deep concern over the deteriorating security situation in Ukraine along the contact line and the need for all the parties to recommit to implementing the ceasefire. The Minister encouraged his Russian counterpart to fully support this goal. He reaffirmed our commitment to Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
The Minister also stressed the importance of continuing our efforts within the Normandy format to find a peaceful solution to the Ukraine conflict and facilitate the implementation of the Minsk Agreement. He emphasized Russia’s responsibility in this regard, as well as the importance of avoiding any initiatives that could contribute to increasing tensions in the wake of the Russian troop movements seen in April. In this regard, he reiterated the importance of practicing transparency with regard to such movements and exercises in line with the Vienna document.
Along with these discussions on Ukraine, the Minister noted France’s full commitment to deescalating tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan and resolving pending issues stemming from last fall’s conflict between the two countries. In this regard, he reaffirmed our desire to continue coordinating closely with Russia, particularly as one of the co-chairs of the Minsk Group, together with the United States, and within relevant international bodies.
The Minister underlined the importance of initiating negotiations between the parties on the challenges of demarcating and delineating the border, unconnected with developments on the ground. He reiterated the need for the parties to show the utmost restraint and to refrain from any provocations.