France on Thursday declared itself in solidarity with the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, involved in naval incidents with Russia in the Black Sea, and underlined “its commitment to the strictest respect of international law”. In a telephone interview with his Ukrainian counterpart Dimitro Kuleba, the head of French diplomacy Jean-Yves Le Drian recalled “Its great caution with respect to regional tensions that have arisen in the recent past in the Black Sea, and its solidarity with our partners”.
Russia claimed to have fired a warning shot at the British destroyer HMS Defender on 23 June, to force it to leave its territorial waters from Ukrainian Crimea in 2014. London, which denied that this building was the object of the Russian fire, for its part confirms that it carried out “a smooth passage across Ukrainian territorial waters” and acted as such. “Totally right”.
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This Russo-British conflict is the first and took place just days before Sea Breeze 2021 military maneuvers involving the United States, other NATO countries and Ukraine in the Black Sea, which Moscow views very badly. The Netherlands, for its part, accused Russian fighter jets of “dangerous” behavior towards one of its warships, the frigate HNLMS Evertsson, which was part of the British destroyer’s carrier strike group. HMS Defender, 23 June in the Black Sea. In the spring, Russian forces had also mobilized troops for weeks near Ukraine, sparking new tensions with the West and raising fears of an attack on Kiev.
For its part, France has drawn strong criticism from some European partners, especially in the east, by requesting, like Germany, to resume talks between the EU and Russia since the annexation of Crimea. Jean-Yves Le Drian also welcomed the ratification by the Ukrainian Parliament of the four Franco-Ukrainian economic agreements on Thursday, “Tangible sign of relationship dynamics” bilateral. These agreements, worth 1.3 billion euros, specifically pertain to the delivery of locomotives to Ukraine and water treatment in Kiev.