Selin ATAY-TDO- The Foreign Ministers of France and Germany said on Thursday that the European Union must stand up to Russia when it acts in violation of international norms. The decision to push sanctions over the poisoning of Kremlin opposition leader Alexei Navalny did not end the dialogue, the ministers added.

France and Germany had said on Wednesday they would recommend European Union sanctions against Russian individuals for failing to get reassuring answers from Moscow over the use of a nerve agent on Kremlin opposition leader.

France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian attended the security conference in Bratislava and made comments on the Russia. The foreign minister said they are ready to play hardball with Russia if necessary. Speaking at the same conference, Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas echoed his counterpart Le Drian’s comments.

“We need to be able to play hardball but at the same time we must never let dialogue be stopped,” Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said at the security conference.  “We need Russia to solve the conflicts in Syria, in Libya, in Ukraine,” he added.

EU foreign ministers are expected to give political backing to the sanctions on Monday. However, since legal texts must be prepared by experts from 27 EU countries, such texts are not expected to be approved immediately.

The decision, in which Europe's two main powers, Berlin and Paris, agreed to move forward with sanctions, led to a hardening of the European Union's diplomacy towards Moscow.

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