France no longer wants to tolerate aggressive behavior by Russia.

The French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced this on Sunday evening in a televised conversation in the Quai d'Orsay.

"We need a very tough demeanor," said Le Drian on a special in the "C dans l'air" series.

He described the development of the regime in Moscow as "worrying" and "worrying".

Le Drian denounced a “triple drift” of the regime: an authoritarian U-turn in the interior, as the Navalnyj affair shows, a ruthless policy of intimidation in the neighborhood of Russia and a policy of interference in internal affairs in the EU and Africa.

Michaela Wiegel

Political correspondent based in Paris.

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Le Drian criticized the planned deployment of mercenaries from the Wagner group in Mali particularly sharply.

"Wagner is waging a proxy war for the account of Russia," he said.

The Russian government denies having a direct influence on the Wagner mercenaries, "but nobody should be fooled by that," said Le Drian.

The connection between the head of the security company, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, and Putin is obvious.

Worry about Wagner mercenaries

The French foreign minister said it was a form of seizure of power.

In the Central African Republic, the Wagner Group would have confiscated the tax revenue and deprived the government of its budgetary rights.

A similar situation threatens in Mali.

“They are mercenaries who violate international law and state sovereignty,” he said.

The Central African Republic is a former French colony. In June, France suspended its € 10 million aid to the Bangui regime and scaled down its military presence. Since then, French soldiers have only been active through the UN blue helmet mission Minusca and the EU training mission EUTM-RCA. Paramilitary troops of the Wagner group have been deployed in the Central African Republic since last December. Paris fears that a similar scenario is imminent in Mali.

With his remarks, Foreign Minister Le Drian is correcting the course.

France had campaigned for rapprochement with Moscow in August 2019.

President Emmanuel Macron received President Putin at Fort Bregançon, the presidential summer residence on the Côte d'Azur.

Now, for the first time, Le Drian recalled the trial of strength at the beginning of Macron's tenure.

In Versailles in May 2017, President Macron made it clear to the guest from Moscow that he would not tolerate attempts at interference.

"Putin only understands the language of power," said Le Drian.

Keywords: jean-yves le drian, putin, paris, france, development, regime, times, tone, mercenaries, course, russian, behavior, worry, emmanuel macron, central african republic