In a rare rebuke of Moscow, France has warned Russia to respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine after the United States shared worries about a potential attack on Ukraine following massing of Russian troops on the border as spotted by satellites last week.
France has also sharply criticised what it terms as "impossible conditions" laid down by Russia which prevent itself, Germany, Ukraine and Russia from holding a ministerial meeting which would deal with peace accords signed in 2014. Russia had annexed Crimes from Ukraine in the same year, kicking off conflict between pro-Russian Ukranian separatists and Ukranian security forces which has killed dozens to date.
A spokeswoman at Germany's foreign office told Reuters that ministers from France, Germany and Ukraine would discuss the crisis on Monday in Brussels. Meanwhile Russia has accused the US of conducting surveillance operations in parts of the Black Sea area which it claims as its own. Moscow has dismissed any claims of an attack on Ukraine.
French foreign minister Jean Yves Le Drian and French defence minister Florence Parly expressed their concerns about the deteriorating security situation in Ukraine and clearly warned of the serious consequences of any further possible damage to the territorial integrity of Ukraine in a terse statement issued after meeting with Russian counterparts in Paris this week. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, in Paris for the talks with Parly and Le Drian, was quoted by TASS as saying it was important to work with France to de-escalate the Ukrainian situation.