France hopes that anti-Russian sanctions will soon be lifted thanks to the work of the “Normandy Quartet” (Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine), French Ambassador to Russia Jean-Maurice Ripert said on Thursday.


French and Russian Presidents Francois Hollande and Vladimir Putin


“We hope that the active work of the ‘Normandy Quartet’ will bring results and help to lift sanctions soon, which will be in line with the interests of all sides,” Ripert said during celebrations of Bastille Day.


He noted that cooperation between France and Russia is expanding despite sanctions. “I also want to tell you several optimistic things. Exchanges between our countries at all levels and in all spheres have been expanding since last summer,” the ambassador added.


Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Meshkov said that relations between Russia and France are once again entering the stage of development. “We are satisfied with the fact that Russian-French relations are once again entering the phase of development,” he added noting that political contacts between Moscow and Paris continue to develop while French businesses express readiness to continue operations in Russia.


In 2014, the European Union imposed sanctions against Russia over developments in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia and numerously broadened and extended them.


The EU suspended talks on the visa-free regime and a new basic cooperation agreement, imposed a ban on blacklisted Russian officials for their entry into the European Union and froze their assets, and also introduced other restrictions in the trade, financial and military spheres.


Overall, the EU blacklisted 151 Russian officials and 37 corporate entities. The EU’s sectoral sanctions were imposed against 20 Russian financial, oil producing and defense structures.