MOSCOW, May 26. /TASS/. French businesses speak for the cancelation of anti-Russian sanctions, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
The ministry said citing representatives of French firms speaking at a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that none of French companies left the Russian market after Paris imposed sanctions on Moscow.
The president of the Franco-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Emmanuel Quidet, said that "despite sanctions imposed against Russia by the European Union and the United States, no French company has abandoned the Russian market."
The heads of French companies represented in Russia spoke for the soonest possible termination of the sanctions standoff and confirmed readiness for close cooperation with Russia, "including promising areas connected with high technology introduction and switchover of enterprises to the innovation development path."
Lavrov, in turn, provided a detailed analysis of the current situation in the sphere of international relations, prospects of mending the Russia-European Union ties "in the context of continuing attempts to pressure the independent foreign policy of the Russian state."
The Russian foreign minister also "presented our vision of the causes and ways out of the political crisis that split Ukraine, emphasizing that there is no alternative to all sides fully complying with the Minsk agreements."
Russian officials and companies came under the first batch of Western sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, after Russia incorporated Crimea in mid-March 2014 after the February 2014 coup in Ukraine.
Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
The West announced new, sectoral, restrictions against Russia in late July 2014, in particular, for what the West claimed was Moscow’s alleged involvement in protests in Ukraine’s southeast.
In response, Russia imposed on August 6, 2014 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Norway.
New large-scale punitive measures against Russia followed in September and December 2014.
Russia has constantly dismissed accusations of "annexing" Crimea, because Crimea reunified with Russia voluntarily after a referendum, as well as allegations that Moscow could in any way be involved in hostilities in the southeast of Ukraine.