Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to discuss escalating tensions with Russia during his trip to Brussels for the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting.
The minister discussed the exchanges that had taken place among EU foreign affairs ministers as well as the determination that we share with our NATO allies to ensure that any new incursion on Ukraine’s territorial integrity be met with severe consequences and come at a steep cost for Russia. He underscored the importance of holding strong faced with the consequences of such a scenario.
Moreover, Mr. Le Drian stated once again that France stands in solidarity with our EU and NATO allies and partners who are potentially impacted by the current tensions. He emphasized France’s full involvement in the alliance’s deterrence and defense posture, especially with regard to NATO’s military missions, enhanced forward presence in the Baltic states and rapid reaction force. He also recalled France’s willingness to join forces with Romania in the context of collective efforts. The minister will be traveling to Romania on February 2.
Lastly, Jean-Yves Le Drian expressed the wish that we continue to pursue all current efforts to maintain dialogue with Russia in order to actively contribute to the de-escalation of tensions using the different formats that have been initiated to this end, including the NATO-Russia Council and the OSCE. France will do its full part in this context in close coordination with its European partners and NATO allies. With this in mind, the minister evoked the discussions set to take place in the Normandy format in Paris on January 26 and his upcoming joint trip to Ukraine with his German counterpart in the next few days.