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    French National Rally Party Condemns New EU Sanctions on Russia - Vice President

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    PARIS (Sputnik) - French National Rally political party condemns the European Union extending sanctions on Russia and promotes a constructive dialogue with Moscow, the party's vice president, Louis Aliot, said Wednesday.

    "There is no reason to extend these sanctions. We are in favor of establishing peaceful and constructive relations with Russia… Therefore, we condemn [sanctions]," the official said after meeting with Andrey Nazarov, the co-chair of the Yalta International Economic Forum organizing committee.

    The French official's statement comes after the European Union decided to prolong sanctions on Russia for another six months on December 13.

    READ MORE: US Not Ruling Out New Sanctions Against Russia Over Kerch Strait — State Dep't

    The sanctions were introduced following reports on November 25 that Ukraine's Berdyansk and Nikopol gunboats and the Yany Kapu tugboat illegally crossed the Russian maritime border as they sailed toward the Kerch Strait, the entrance to the Sea of Azov. The Ukrainian vessels were arrested by Russia after failing to respond to a demand to stop.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the incident was a provocation prepared in advance as a pretext to introduce martial law in Ukraine ahead of the country’s presidential election. The martial law would affect the campaign, set to start in late December, amid Poroshenko's low approval rating, Putin said. 

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    provocation, sanctions, Louis Aliot, Petro Poroshenko, European Union, Russia, France
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