France will summon its Russian ambassador after two French humanitarian aid workers were killed in a drone strike by Russia’s troops in Ukraine in the continuing invasion by Moscow.
Two French volunteers working in the aid sector were killed and three others wounded in southern Ukraine’s Kherson region on 1 February, foreign minister Stephane Sejourne confirmed on Friday.
“Russian barbarity has targeted civilians in Ukraine. Two French aid workers have paid with their lives for their engagement with Ukrainian people, three are injured,” Mr Sejourne said on social media.
The Russian ambassador will be summoned by France on Monday after the death of the two French humanitarian workers and what Paris said was an upsurge in Russian disinformation, a French diplomatic source said.
Now, “France will reiterate its condemnation of the Russian strikes. It will also denounce an upsurge in disinformation targeting France,” the diplomatic source said.
The foreign minister on Friday warned Russia will have to “answer for its crimes”.
Ukraine’s governor in Kherson Oleksandr Prokudin confirmed the death of the two French nationals in a Russian attack on the town of Beryslav on the western bank of the Dnipro river.
French president Emmanuel Macron called the killings a “cowardly and disgraceful act”, and expressed his support for all volunteers engaged in helping other nations.
Bilateral ties between France and Russia have suffered a setback in recent weeks as Paris increased its support to Ukraine, including promising to send more long-range cruise missiles.
France has also accused Russia of habitually spreading misinformation. Paris was also forced to dismiss any notion that it had mercenaries operating in Ukraine a day after Russian lawmakers adopted a resolution condemning French ‘mercenaries’ in Ukraine in late January.
Officials in France, a staunch ally of Ukraine in military aid against the Russian invasion, has also accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of relaying false information after suggesting missiles that had downed a Russian plane carrying Ukrainian prisoners of war could have been from a French air defence system.
The foreign ministry has warned of further Russian disinformation ahead of Mr Macron’s visit to Ukraine later this month.