Q: Yoann Barbereau, the former director of the Alliance Française in Irkutsk, is once again criticizing the “incompetence” of diplomats at the Quai d’Orsay, especially the French ambassador to Moscow at the time, Jean-Maurice Ripert, and demanding government compensation for his detention in Russia on the grounds of “functional protection.” What is your response to that?
A: I would like to remind you of the statements we issued regarding this news item on November 9 and 10, 2017, setting out all of the protection measures undertaken on behalf of Yoann Barbereau, who had been arrested and charged in Russia: “Mr. Barbereau benefited from consular protection as soon as he was charged. Once he had absconded from the Russian authorities and presented himself at the Embassy of France in Moscow in order to seek refuge there, this ministry took all necessary measures to help him and ensure his safety. In close cooperation with his family and friends, Jean-Maurice Ripert, Ambassador of France to Russia from 2013 to 2017, personally ensured that all his needs were met. The minister for Europe and foreign affairs thanks him once again for his commitment and for the quality of the services provided. The protection of French nationals abroad is a core mission of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. We pay tribute to the dedication and expertise of the officials responsible for consular matters in France and abroad.”
Beyond this reminder, since the case is currently being heard in court, we are unable to provide any further comment.