World powers should draw "clear red lines" with Russia and consider possible sanctions when they are crossed, French President Emmanuel Macron told the U.S. news network CBS in an interview.
"This is the only way to be credible," Macron said, according to a video excerpt of the interview, which was recorded on Friday and due to be aired later on Sunday.
"Sanctions are not sufficient in themselves but sanctions are part of the package," he said, adding that he also agreed with U.S. President Joe Biden's willingness to open a dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a time of tension.
Since his election in 2017, the French leader had tried to reduce distrust between Russia and the West, hoping to enlist Moscow's help in solving the world's most intractable crises.
But in an apparent shift, Macron cited the Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 as an episode where Western diplomacy had been too accommodating.
"It was the failure of a naive approach towards Russia," he said. "When we set red lines, we have to be sure to be credible, and to make others respect these red lines."
Macron's comments come amid some of the worst friction between the Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War.
The United States last week imposed an array of sanctions on Russia, including curbs on purchases of its debt, in response to what it said was Moscow's interference in last year's U.S. election, cyber hacking, and bullying of Ukraine, among other issues. It also expelled 10 Russian diplomats. read more
In response, Russia on Friday told 10 U.S. diplomats to leave and suggested the U.S. ambassador return home for consultations.
NATO and western European countries are also concerned about rising tension between Moscow and Kyiv amid a build-up of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine and clashes in eastern Ukraine between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists.
Moscow reacted furiously on Sunday to Czech accusations that two Russian spies accused of a nerve agent poisoning in Britain in 2018 were behind an explosion at a Czech ammunition dump four years earlier, which killed two people. Prague expelled 18 Russian diplomats on Saturday. read more
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