Sanctions against Russia will be taken to another level if Ukraine’s May 25 presidential elections are hampered, if they don’t take place or if the Russian government fails to recognize the result, an official from the French president’s office said.
Group of Seven leaders would take the decision to move to the next stage of sanctions at their June 4-5 summit in Brussels, according to the French official, who asked not to be named because the deliberations are private. That would lead to a tense meeting, the official told reporters traveling with President Francois Hollande in Georgia today.
Georgia’s NATO membership should not be rushed, according to the French official. While Russia doesn’t fear Europe, it is wary of NATO, and extending membership of the alliance to Russia’s neighbor Georgia would be seen by Russia as an act of aggression, the official said.
Georgia must “use the association agreement with the European Union before thinking about other outlooks with Europe,” Hollande said in a speech earlier in the capital, Tbilisi. “Those who are in a rush are making things more complicated” in the EU membership plan, he said.
Hollande plans to discuss the situation in Ukraine by phone with U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel tomorrow, the official said.
Hollande is certain that Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the World War II commemoration of D-Day on June 6 in Normandy, France, the official said.