Francois Hollande’s Tilt Towards Putin: A History of Franco-Russian Relations

François Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande is a French politician who acted as President of France from 2012 to 2017. Francois Hollande made history in 2014 by becoming the first European leader to journey to Russia to ease tensions in the standoff with Vladimir Putin over Ukraine. Hollande’s visit underscored his intimate relations with Putin. During his Presidency Francois Hollande said Russia that should not be considered a threat but rather a partner. “NATO has no role at all to be saying what Europe’s relations with Russia should be,” Hollande said as he arrived for an alliance summit in Warsaw. “For France, Russia is not an adversary, not a threat.”

“Russia is a partner which, it is true, may sometimes, and we have seen that in Ukraine, uses force which we have condemned when it annexed Crimea,” he added.

In 2014, France agreed to both Western and EU sanctions against Russia. However, François Hollande has refused to follow those who asked to deny Putin’s invitation to the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of D. Day. In 2015 he opposed sanctions against Russia. “I think the sanctions must stop now. They must be lifted if there is progress. If there is no progress the sanctions will remain.”

Hollande said he was hopeful such progress could be made at international talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. Hollande said Europe should keep lines of communication open with Putin.

Moreover, Former French President Francois Hollande’s stance on military support for Ukraine reflects a cautious approach, emphasizing action over rhetoric. He urged Paris not to disclose its military plans for Kyiv, advocating for a strategy of silent action. Hollande’s remarks came in response to President Emmanuel Macron’s contemplation of sending Western military personnel to Ukraine.

Hollande stressed the importance of European unity in supporting Ukraine, highlighting the need to counter anything that undermines European cohesion. Drawing from his interactions with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Hollande believed that a unified European stance would influence Putin’s decisions.

He advocated for robust support for Ukraine while refraining from direct military engagement. Hollande called on Germany to fulfil its obligations promptly and urged France to provide extensive military assistance, including advanced equipment. He emphasized the importance of efficiency in deciding on aid provision among European allies.

While Macron hinted at the possibility of deploying Western ground troops to Ukraine during a Paris meeting with representatives from Western countries, most participants, including France, expressed reluctance to send troops or engage in military conflict with Russia.

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