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Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

FRANCE 24 | French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
2 min

In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that the international community must be “firm” with Russia, warning that Russia could face further sanctions if it fails to change tack on Ukraine.

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Fabius said that the French government had evidence that Russian troops had entered neighbouring Ukraine, describing the incursion as “alarming”.

“The moment one country sends its military forces into another country without its consent and against its will, that is called an ‘intervention,’” he said. “Obviously, it’s unacceptable”.

“France’s position from the very beginning has been to say that, when it comes to Russia, we have to show, at the same time, our firmness and [willingness to engage in] dialogue,” Fabius said.

Pointing to the fact that France had already introduced measures against Russia after failed efforts to reach a solution on the Ukraine crisis, he warned that further sanctions could lie ahead.

“If Russia doesn’t urgently change its behaviour, then sanctions will be enforced again,” he said. Despite his forceful tone, Fabius categorically dismissed the possibility of a French military intervention in Ukraine.

“We must stay in the realm of reality,” he said. “No one in their right mind would wish for a war with Russia.”

The foreign minister added that sanctions targeting Russia had already had a “formidable” impact on the country’s economy.

“There’s no more investment, the rouble has fallen, the Russian stock market is falling. There’s a whole string of difficulties,” he said.

Fabius also touched on a number of other issues, including the French economy, the threat of Islamist militant group the Islamic State, and the Ebola epidemic in Africa.

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