France condemns Putin’s ‘paranoid’ speech on Ukraine

France called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech to the nation on Ukraine “paranoid” on Monday, accusing him of reneging on promises he made to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

A French presidential official said Putin’s speech, in which he recognized two independent Ukrainian separatist regions, was mixed with rigid “ideas” and paranoia, adding that the Russian leader “did not honor the promises he made” to Macron.

The official, who asked not to be named, said further Russian “military operations” would not be ruled out, and added that the EU was preparing a list of Russian entities and individuals for sanctions in a “proportionate” response.

Putin “made a clear choice to abandon his commitments,” the official said, adding that discussions would start on Tuesday in Brussels on the status of sanctions.

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

Macron engaged in frantic diplomacy on Sunday in an attempt to broker a summit between Putin and US President Joe Biden to ease escalating tensions over Ukraine that have raised fears of a Russian invasion of its neighbor.

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

(AFP)

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