April 13, 2024

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In a rare call, the Russian Defense Minister warns his French counterpart against sending forces to Ukraine

In a rare call, the Russian Defense Minister warns his French counterpart against sending forces to Ukraine

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's defense minister warned his French counterpart against deploying troops to Ukraine in a rare phone call Wednesday and indicated Moscow was ready to participate in talks to end the conflict. Conflict.

Sergey Shoigu French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu informed that if Paris follows through on its statements about the possibility of this happening Sending a French military force to Ukraine“It will create problems for France itself,” according to a statement by the Russian Defense Ministry. He didn't explain that.

The conversation came in the wake of French President Emmanuel Macron's statements last February, in which he said that this was a possibility Sending Western forces to Ukraine It cannot be ruled out.

This call represents the first contact of its kind between the Russian and French Defense Ministers since October 2022.

Shoigu indicated “Moscow's readiness for dialogue on Ukraine,” stressing that the scheduled round of peace talks in Geneva would be “meaningless” without Russia's participation. He added that possible future negotiations could be based on a draft document, which was discussed during the Russia talks. Ukraine talks in Istanbul in March 2022.

Media reports said that the draft, which was negotiated in Istanbul weeks after Moscow sent forces to Ukraine, stipulated that Ukraine would abandon its attempt to join NATO and remain neutral. No final agreement was reached and the talks quickly collapsed afterwards.

The Russian Defense Ministry also said in its statement of Wednesday's call that Lecorno offered his condolences over the incident March 22 attack on a concert hall on the outskirts of Moscow Which resulted in the deaths of 145 people in the deadliest attack on Russian territory in decades.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and his officials sought to link Ukraine and the West to the attack despite Kiev's strong denials, a claim of responsibility by an Islamic State affiliate and an advance warning the United States issued to Moscow about an imminent attack.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that during the call, Lecornu tried to convince Shoigu that Ukraine and its Western allies had nothing to do with the raid on the concert hall, but Shoigu insisted that Moscow had “information about Ukrainian involvement in organizing the terrorist attack.”

“The Kiev regime does nothing without the approval of its Western operators,” the ministry quoted Shoigu as telling Licorno. He added: “We hope that the French special services are not involved in this.”