French FM to maintain dialogue with Russia
Russia remains committed to talks with France and Canada, despite criticism from the Canadian Foreign Minister.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian believes it is necessary to maintain talks with Russia on Ukraine, including at the request of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
"It is necessary to maintain a channel of dialogue [with Russian President Vladimir Putin]. This is exactly what President [Emmanuel] Macron is trying to do... including because Zelensky asks him to do this. President Putin does not want to talk to Zelensky," Le Drian said on BFMTV channel when asked if France should maintain a dialogue with Putin.
The French Minister also believed that the hostilities in Ukraine would be long and difficult, with no indication that they would end anytime soon.
Macron and Putin last spoke over the phone on May 3. It lasted 2 hours and 10 minutes, according to French media.
Russian Ambassador open to talks with Canadians despite criticism: Embassy
Despite criticism from Foreign Minister Melanie Joly, Russian Ambassador to Canada Oleg Stepanov is willing to meet with Canadian authorities, according to the Russian Embassy.
Joly previously told CBC News that Stepanov was disseminating falsehoods about Russia's special military operation in Ukraine and "feeding propaganda to the Canadian people."
Stepanov's office said in an email to CBC News, "His responsibility, among other things, is to convey his opinion and the position of Russia to the Canadian public. Labeling serves nothing and often just demonstrates certain deficiencies of professionalism in diplomacy."
The Russian Embassy said Stepanov is ready for further meetings with Canadian officials "when one of the sides or both of them deem such level of communications useful."