French foreign minister warns Moscow against use of chemical weapons -Le Parisien

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French European and Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian arrives to attend a meeting with the French Prime Minister and French presidential candidates to discuss Ukraine crisis at the Hotel Matignon in Paris, France, February 28, 2022. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

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PARIS, March 16 (Reuters) - France would consider Russia responsible for any use of chemical or bacteriological weapons in the war in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told French newspaper Le Parisien in an interview on Wednesday.

"If chemical or bacteriological attacks took place in Ukraine, we'd know who would be solely responsible for them. It would be Russia," Le Drian said.

The French minister said that such use of unconventional weapons would result in additional sanctions against Russia.

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"The use of unconventional means would constitute an intolerable escalation and would lead in response to absolutely massive and radical economic sanctions, without taboos," he said.

Le Drian declined to elaborate on the nature of the potential sanctions in such circumstances.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday that Russia might use chemical weapons following its invasion of Ukraine and that such a move would be a war crime, according to an interview in German newspaper Welt am Sonntag. read more

In the same interview to Le Parisien, Le Drian said Russia was only pretending to negotiate with Ukraine in talks held between the two countries over the past few days.

"There is only one emergency: the cease-fire, the cease-fire, the cease-fire. ... It is only on this basis that you can negotiate, because you don't negotiate with a gun on your head."

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Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Leslie Adler

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