Demanding and productive dialogue with Russia needed - French ambassador
It is necessary to conduct a demanding and productive dialogue with the Russian Federation, French Ambassador to Ukraine Etienne de Ponsen said in an interview with Kyiv-based Hromadske ezine.
"That is, the dialogue is needed, but the dialogue which is demanding, and producing results, because we are considering a return to the Normandy format. This is directly related to the fact that we worked to restore confidence between [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and [President of Ukraine Volodymyr] Zelensky," he said in an interview published on the Kyiv-ezine's website on Tuesday.
At the same time, the ambassador emphasized that the position of France had not changed either regarding the territorial integrity of Ukraine, nor regarding the sanctions against Russia, which were regularly extended, including recently at the level of the European Union.
"Russia is a major partner, it has military strength, as well as economic power. And we have economic interests in Russia, as well as in Ukraine. Therefore, it makes no sense to put Russia in a corner as a student in a school class. We need to hold a dialogue with them," said de Ponsen.
The diplomat explained that the situation in which the Russian Federation was isolated or kept at a distance was not a good tactic and strategy, because it did not give good results, in particular, the Normandy Summit didn't gather for years.
"So, the primary desire of the president [of France Emmanuel] Macron was to try to restore confidence, start talking with them, in particular, with Vladimir Putin, to restore contact, but at the same time with strict observance of the conditions for such a dialogue," he noted.