FRANCE: Putin must be convinced to stop the war

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No effort should be spared to convince Russia’s Vladimir Putin, to lay down arms and prevent the Ukraine conflict from spreading, said French Ambassador to Cyprus Salina Grenet-Catalano.

She told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that France holding the European Union presidency is trying to defuse the Ukrainian crisis.

“France has always carried out a constant yet demanding dialogue with Russia and Vladimir Putin.

“Unfortunately, the Russian President chose war when he could have chosen peace.

“Diplomatic ways have always been proposed to Russia to find a solution to the crisis.

“This has been highlighted by the recent visit of President Macron to Moscow and the numerous phone calls he placed to Mr Putin, in coordination with our partners, reaching out to him even after the attack had begun.

“No effort should be spared to convince him to lay down arms and prevent the conflict from spreading further.

The French Ambassador highlighted that Russia has been completely isolated.

“At the United Nations General Assembly, only 4 UN member states among 193, beyond Russia itself, voted against the resolution condemning Moscow’s actions.

“France and its partners have taken swift action to provide humanitarian support to Ukraine and deliver equipment for its defence.

“Quick and proportionate sanctions were taken in various fields from economy, politics, to sports. The European Union showed resolve and unity.

“The diplomatic initiatives and the sanctions against Russia’s political and economic leadership will continue.

“Our joint objective is to stop the fighting and bring an end to this war.

She noted that Macron underlined Europe is not at war with Russia or the Russian people.

“We are standing with the Russians who refuse that an unworthy war is fought in their names.

“This tragedy in Ukraine will change Europe.

“There will be economic costs stemming from the sanctions, but we will protect our citizens from them.

“Our freedom and the freedom of our children are no longer a given.

“Now more than ever, they require courage and the willingness to fight for them at all times.

“This challenge we are facing as Europeans demonstrates that the European Union has to reach full sovereignty in the international order according to President Macron.

“It has to reinforce its strength whether its economic planning, energy independence and defence capabilities.

“These objectives will shape the agenda of the summit of the Head of States and governments of the EU on March 10 and 11, in Versailles.”