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Shoigu warns France against deploying troops to Ukraine in rare phone call

The Russian defense minister stated Macron’s idea would “create problems for France” in his first such call in 20 months.
The French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu held a rare phone call, their first such contact since October 2022
The Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his French counterpart Sébastien Lecornu (R). © AFP
Shoigu warns France against deploying troops to Ukraine in rare phone call

The French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu held a rare phone call, their first such contact since October 2022, AP reports.

The talk highlighted again that France condemns Russia’s “war of aggression” against Ukraine and reaffirms its commitment to supporting the country “for as long as it takes and as intensely as needed,” according to France 24.

Warning from Russia

During the call, Shoigu warned that any deployment of French troops to Ukraine would “create problems for France,” AP reports. In February, French President Emmanuel Macron said he does not rule out the possibility of sending Western troops to Ukraine. However, French officials have clarified previous suggestions of sending troops concerned with training and operations away from the frontlines.

Peace talks

The Russian defense ministry also claimed that the ministers discussed the potential for talks on the war in Ukraine. Shoigu emphasized that a planned round of peace talks in Geneva would be “senseless” without Russia’s involvement, as Kyiv proposed a “world summit” but without inviting Russia, according to Reuters.

Shoigu suggested that future negotiations could be based on a draft document discussed during Russia-Ukraine talks in Istanbul in March 2022. Back then, Moscow expected Ukraine to abandon its bid to join NATO and remain neutral, which Ukraine would not accept, and the talks collapsed quickly, as per AP.

Reuters also reported that a French government source, Agence France-Presse, said, “At no moment did we show any willingness to dialogue on Ukraine or negotiations or anything like that.” France reiterated their commitment to support Ukraine “as long as it takes” against the Russian aggression.

Crocus hall attack

The Russian Defense Ministry also stated that Lecornu offered condolences over the 22 March attack on a suburban Moscow concert hall Crocus that claimed 145 lives, the deadliest assault in Russia in decades. 

Despite Islamic State claiming responsibility for the attack and Kyiv denying any involvement, Vladimir Putin and his officials have sought to link Ukraine and the West to the incident.

Lecornu called on Moscow to stop all instrumentalization of the Crocus attack, as France had no information linking it to Ukraine.

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