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French foreign minister wants to rebuild ties with Russia

September 9, 2019
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From left, France Defence Minister Florence Parly, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, France Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu leave a news conference during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
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From left, France Defence Minister Florence Parly, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, France Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu leave a news conference during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

MOSCOW (AP) — France’s top diplomat says a major prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine should act as a catalyst for improved ties between his country and Moscow.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters Monday after his talks with the Russian foreign minister in Moscow that the “time has come to reduce distrust” with Russia.

France’s relations with Russia tanked after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea and threw its weight behind separatists in Ukraine’s east. The European Union and other nations then slapped Russia with a flurry of sanctions.

Drian’s comments follow the prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine in which 70 people, including high-profile inmates such as film director Oleg Sentsov, were freed.

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