French President Francois Hollande has called for an end to European Union sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine amid growing dissent in the 28-nation bloc on the restrictive measures. During his annual address to the French ambassadors at the Elysée Palace in Paris on Tuesday, Holande, whose country was previously a staunch supporter of the anti-Moscow bans, described them as “an obstacle to many economic projects.”
The French leader further said the crisis in Ukraine changed the relations between Russia and Europe and caused damage to both sides. “The effects of the Ukraine crisis have to end in relation to Russia and the members of Europe. This situation is, to me, highly damaging because it comes with a high cost for those and other [actors], all actors,” said Hollande.
He added that the removal of the sanctions is “in all of our interests to get out as fast and in the best way possible, of this type of relation.” “This has a high price and complicates the dialogue,” the president stressed. Hollande made the comments a day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had “the very greatest interest in stopping sanctions” against the Kremlin.