The U.S. in recent weeks warned its European allies that Russia may be planning a repeat of its 2014 invasion of Ukraine, citing a fresh build-up of tanks and troops along the border. The Kremlin has denied any aggressive intentions.
Le Drian said it was important to find a “way to work together,” even though President Vladimir Putin’s “authoritarian” tendencies have become more marked in recent months. Russia should instead bring its influence to help resolve the deepening crisis in Belarus, he said.
“Now is the time for Russia to exert pressure,” said Le Drian, adding that Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko risks creating a humanitarian disaster.
“It’s a real fake migrant crisis,” he said.
Here is what else Le Drian said during the hour-long RTL interview:
- There could be “diplomatic consequences” for China should Peng Shuai, a professional tennis player who disappeared after accusing a former top official of sexually assaulting her, not be allowed to speak freely; he declined to elaborate on the potential consequences
- It’s “impossible” to have a Russian mercenary group known as Wagner intervene in Mali
- With regards to the submarine crisis with Australia, the “story may not be over yet”
- The risk of terror attacks in France is still high