As you recalled at the beginning of your question, the situation in Ukraine is not only worrying but extremely serious. The violence in the eastern part of the country has developed and is developing as we speak.
Behind it – it must be clearly stated – lies Russia, and the condemnations issued by France and other countries are therefore perfectly legitimate.
You ask me about our position: our position, which is being taken up by the Europeans, is one of both great firmness and great responsibility. Firmness means sanctions. We’ve defined three levels of sanctions with our partners, and the first two have already been applied.
Responsibility means embarking on dialogue. We’re not – and no one here is suggesting it – going to wage war against the Russians. So we must move towards dialogue, but towards dialogue on the basis of firmness.
On Thursday there will be a quadripartite meeting. If this meeting – in which the Russians and Ukrainians, among others, will be taking part – brings no results, we’ll have to move on to the third stage of sanctions, namely economic sanctions.
There’s no other path than this one. The Russians’ aim is either to make it impossible for the 25 May election to be held or to discredit it. We must have exactly the opposite aim. A fully legitimate government must be established in Ukraine, and on that basis, firmness and responsibility are needed.
That is France’s position, and when the President talks about it – to Mr Putin, to President Obama, to Chancellor Merkel and to all his partners – he’s carrying out his duty to the full./.