Robert HARNEIS -TDO- (FRANCE)- The EU needs a new strategy on Russia because sanctions alone have not changed its behavior, French president Emmanuel Macron said speaking after a summit in Brussels.

He called for relations to be “very fundamentally recast” and said that what was needed was a short, medium and long term strategy and not just reactions, “the policy of progressive sanctions in deadlocked situations is not effective.”

He was questioned by journalists on the impact of European sanctions adopted against Belarus, after the diversion of a passenger aircraft, which was followed by the arrest of an anti-government activist, as well as those against Moscow with a view to bringing about the release of Alexei Navalny so far without result. He replied “What you say is very true, but do you have any other measures in mind?” adding “It is not obvious to set out what you do next. So in cases like this, you start a war?”

He explained that the European Council had asked the Commission for a report on how to reply “in the face of successive Russian provocations.”

As far as steps taken to ban Belarus aircraft from EU air space, he posed the question “will that be enough?” Admitting “I cannot tell you that today.”

He concluded « I think we are at a moment of truth in our relations with Russia, which should lead us to rethink the nature of the tension that it is decided to generate. So in my view sanctions are only a step on the way.”

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