Breaking the Ice: French and Russian Defense Ministers First Phone Call Since 2022

Written by Henrik Rothen

Apr.03 - 2024 7:49 PM CET

France and Russia's defense ministers have spoken on the phone together for the first time since 2022.

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After months of frosty relations and heightened tensions, the defense ministers of France and Russia reestablished contact through a significant phone call on Wednesday.

This marks their first dialogue since October 2022, bringing to the forefront discussions on terrorism, the tragic attack in Moscow, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

The conversation between French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu is reported by Moscow Times.

A United Front Against Terrorism

In the wake of the deadly assault on a Moscow concert venue, which resulted in at least 144 fatalities and was claimed by the Islamic State, France expressed its unwavering stance against terrorism.

Lecornu emphasized France's readiness to combat this global threat through "increased exchanges" aimed at effective counterterrorism measures.

This shared concern over terrorism provided a rare common ground for the two nations, despite their diverging views on other pressing issues.

Controversy and Condemnation

While the conversation touched upon the critical matter of terrorism, it did not shy away from contentious issues. Russian President Vladimir Putin's assertion that the Moscow attack was linked to "radical Islamists" connected to Ukraine sparked controversy, a claim France refuted due to a lack of evidence.

Lecornu's call to "stop all instrumentalization" of the attack by Moscow was a direct appeal for transparency and truth in attributing responsibility for such heinous acts.

Moreover, the French defense minister did not hold back in condemning Russia's military actions in Ukraine.

France's steadfast support for Ukraine's sovereignty and freedom was reiterated, highlighting the enduring commitment to peace and security in Europe.

his firm stance aligns with French President Emmanuel Macron's approach, who has escalated France's opposition to Russia's aggression by refusing to rule out military support for Ukraine.

Dialogue Amidst Divergence

The resumption of dialogue between Lecornu and Shoigu, albeit focused on specific issues, signifies a cautious step towards engagement in a time of escalating global conflicts.

Macron's attempts at dialogue with Putin in the past, including a visit to Moscow and several phone calls aimed at preventing the invasion of Ukraine, have now evolved into a more resolute opposition against Russian aggression.

Yet, this recent conversation between the defense ministers hints at the complex interplay of diplomacy, where dialogue remains essential, even in the most challenging circumstances.

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