The current situation around French banks causes nothing but indignation in Europe and Russia, Putin said Tuesday at a meeting with Russian ambassadors.
“We know about the pressure that our American partners place on France to make it give up Mistral (amphibious assault ship) deliveries to Russia. And we know that they hinted that if the French do not supply Mistrals, sanctions will gradually be lifted, or at least minimized. What else is it if not blackmail,” Putin said. “How can they work like this on the international arena?”
Putin said that sanctions should be used in line with the UN Charter, otherwise “these are not sanctions in the international-legal sense of the word but an international policy tool.”
The West led by the United States has subjected some Russian officials and companies to sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, following Crimea’s incorporation by Russia in mid-March after a referendum in which most Crimeans voted for reunification with the Russian Federation.
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 accession to Russia.
Russia has received repeated Western threats of further punitive measures, including economic ones, for Crimea and what the West claimed was Moscow’s alleged involvement in protests of federalization supporters in Ukraine’s embattled Southeast.
Moscow has dismissed the involvement claims and rejected the language of sanctions saying it would strike back at Western nations.