France may consider lifting anti-Russian sanctions if Ukraine conflict de-escalates

The French authorities will be ready to consider lifting sanctions against Russia if tensions subside in the south-east of Ukraine, Russian Ambassador to Paris Alexander Orlov told Interfax.

The French authorities will be ready to consider lifting sanctions against Russia if tensions subside in the south-east of Ukraine, Russian Ambassador to Paris Alexander Orlov told Interfax.

"Paris links the cancellation of sanctions with the de-escalation of tensions around Ukraine," he said.

French businesses and citizens have also spoken in favor of lifting anti-Russian sanctions "because they are causing direct damage to the economy and because Russia has always been a highly important economic partner for France," the ambassador said.

However, France cannot lift anti-Russian sanctions in a bilateral format, he said.

"Regrettably, it [cancellation of sanctions on a bilateral basis] is impossible because none of the European Union countries can withdraw from these sanctions in a unilateral manner. These decisions were made collectively, and a decision concerning the cancellation of sanctions will be adopted collectively as well," Orlov said.

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