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Media: France to summon Russian ambassador over killing of volunteers, fakes

by Martin Fornusek February 5, 2024 10:23 AM 2 min read
Russian diplomat and current Ambassador to France Alexey Meshkov during the 5th International Rome Film Festival on Oct. 30, 2010, in Rome, Italy, at the time serving as Russia's ambassador to Italy. (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
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France plans to summon the Russian ambassador on Feb. 5 to condemn the killing of two French humanitarian workers in Ukraine last week and to protest the surge of anti-French disinformation, Le Figaro and AFP reported, citing diplomatic sources.

The two volunteers were killed in a Russian attack on the town of Beryslav in Kherson Oblast on Feb. 1, said Oleksandr Prokudin, the regional governor. French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne described the strike as an "act of barbarity."

The death of the French citizens exacerbated the already heavy tension between the two countries, sparked by Moscow's aggression against Ukraine.

"France will reiterate its condemnation of the Russian strikes," a diplomatic source told Reuters.

"It will also denounce an upsurge in disinformation targeting France."

Paris dismissed in January Moscow's claims that Russian forces shelled "French mercenaries" in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. The French Foreign Ministry said it does not employ guns-for-hire and called the allegation "another clumsy Russian manipulation."

Russia has been ramping up disinformation campaigns against Kyiv's allies, including France, since the outbreak of the full-scale war.

Former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said in June 2023 that the authorities uncovered a major Russian disinformation campaign carried out in France but aimed against Ukraine.

The disinformation activities involved presenting false news items hostile towards Ukraine as news content authored by the prominent French media.

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