French foreign minister says discussions with Russia impossible because of ‘lies’

France is not interested in dialogue with Russia after Moscow misrepresented what Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu said about talks on Ukraine.

“It is not in our interest at this time to have discussions with Russian officials, that the press releases and reports they submit are lies”, French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejournet told France 24 television channel. He added that trust must be restored between the countries for possible dialog in the future.

Last week, Reuters, citing a French government source, reported that France, contrary to Russia’s claims, did not express “readiness for dialogue” on ending the war in Ukraine during a telephone conversation between the two countries’ defense ministers.

The Russian Defense Ministry released a statement saying that the head of the ministry, Sergei Shoigu, had discussed the topic of the war in Ukraine with Lecornu. It is claimed that during these talks, “readiness for dialog” on the settlement of the conflict was noted.

In turn, the French Defense Ministry confirmed that Lecornu discussed with Shoigu the war in Ukraine. In particular, the French minister reiterated that Paris condemned the Russian invasion and would support Kyiv “as long as it takes to bring peace and security to the European continent”.

At the same time, the reason for Shoigu’s call and the main topic of discussion was the terrorist attack in Crocus City Hall that killed 145 people. Lecornu expressed solidarity with the relatives of the victims of the attack, for which the ISIS cell took responsibility, and declared France’s readiness to strengthen cooperation with Russia in order to counter the threat of terrorism. At the same time, he emphasized that Paris had no information indicating Ukraine’s involvement in the Crocus attack and called on the Russian authorities to stop exploiting the topic to strengthen pro-war sentiments.

It is the first direct conversation between ministers since October 2022, when Shoigu called his Western counterparts claiming Ukraine allegedly wanted to detonate a “dirty” nuclear bomb. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have since checked three Ukrainian facilities pointed out by Russia, but found no signs of such weapons being built there.

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