France's Le Drian Says Putin Trying to 'Bypass' EU by Talking Exclusively With US

© AFP 2022 / LUDOVIC MARINThe Elysee presidential palace is litten with the colours of the European flag on January 6, 2022 in Paris to mark the French presidency of the European Union, as France took over the rotating presidency of the EU on January 1, 2022. - To mark the start of the six-month EU presidency, historic buildings across the country have been illuminated in the blue of the EU flag on New Year's Eve, including the Elysee Palace and the Eiffel Tower.
The Elysee presidential palace is litten with the colours of the European flag on January 6, 2022 in Paris to mark the French presidency of the European Union, as France took over the rotating presidency of the EU on January 1, 2022. - To mark the start of the six-month EU presidency, historic buildings across the country have been illuminated in the blue of the EU flag on New Year's Eve, including the Elysee Palace and the Eiffel Tower.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.01.2022
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The European Union has been expressing grievances over the forthcoming Geneva negotiations between Russia and the United States along with NATO. The parties are set to discuss the tense situation on the Ukrainian border, but the EU is not expected to be among those negotiating.
Moscow is trying to bypass the European Union by discussing Ukraine solely with the United States, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told BFM radio Friday.

"[Russian President] Vladimir Putin wants to bypass the European Union [...] he wants to put dents in EU cohesion, which is solidifying", he said.

His assertion echoes the sentiment earlier voiced by EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, who lamented that Brussels "cannot be a neutral spectator in the negotiations" scheduled to take place later in January in Geneva and involve Russia, the US, and NATO.
Le Drian issued a statement earlier in the week, saying that he, Borrell, and several other top European officials had discussed the tensions concerning Ukraine and highlighted the importance of the bloc's participation in the talks that will impact European security.

"Demanding dialogue with Russia, based on parameters that we deem to be in line with our collective security interests, is useful and necessary to enhance strategic stability in Europe", Le Drian stated.

As Brussels continues to fume over their lack of involvement in the upcoming security negotiations, reports said that top European officials believe the bloc was made an outsider in the talks due to its internal divisions and weak foreign policy.
Moscow and Washington are set to hold talks on 10 January in order to discuss tensions in Ukraine. Two days later, Russian negotiators will meet their NATO counterparts, with Russian security proposals to the alliance expected to be discussed.
The Kremlin's proposals include the demand that NATO refrains from expanding to the east or placing offensive weapons in the countries neighbouring Russia. Washington said it is not going to respond publicly to the proposals, only noting that it is looking for a "meaningful" dialogue with Moscow. According to observers, the White House is not likely to agree to all of them, but a compromise might be possible.
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