France and Germany: the European Union is ready to be tough in relations with Russia

At the same time, Paris and Berlin consider it necessary to continue the dialogue with Moscow.

The EU must fight back against Russia and be ready to be tough when it violates international norms, the French and German foreign ministers said.

At the same time, they added that the decision to impose sanctions in connection with the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny will not end the dialogue..

France and Germany said they would propose sanctions at the European Union level against Russian citizens, without receiving satisfactory answers from Moscow about the use of a nerve agent in the assassination attempt on Navalny.

“Dialogue is not an excuse to play for time. We must make it very clear that dialogue with Russia does not mean that we are doing it a favor, ”French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said at a security conference in Bratislava..

“This does not mean that we abandon our ambition to build a peaceful continent..France and Germany: the European Union is ready to be tough in relations with Russia On the contrary, it means that we stand up for those ambitions by being firm … and willing to play tough when needed. “.

Speaking at the same conference, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas spoke in a similar vein.

“We have to be able to play hard, but at the same time, we must not allow the dialogue to end,” Maas said. “We need Russia to resolve conflicts in Syria, Libya, Ukraine”.

EU foreign ministers are expected to speak out in support of the sanctions on Monday, but sanctions are unlikely to be adopted immediately, as legal documents must be prepared and approved by experts from all 27 countries of the bloc.

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