France’s president has said that Russia would continue trying to destabilize Western democracies, but he called for Europe to adopt a new approach toward Moscow.
Speaking on February 15 at the Munich Security Conference, Emmanuel Macron said European allies need to do more to engage with Russia, and he criticized the continuing Western sanctions imposed on Russia six years ago.
The 2017 French presidential election that was won by Macron was roiled by a massive leak of e-mails, some forged, that appeared to target the Macron campaign. U.S. and French officials later concluded that the hack was overseen by Russian hackers. That was also the finding of a Japanese cybersecurity firm.
In his comments, Macron also said Russia's strategy for destabilizing Western democracies was to support political parties that are socially conservative, anti-European, and anti-immigration.
"There will always be some meddling,” Macron said.
"Russia is very aggressive and will continue to be so...We have very few antibodies against this type of attack and this is a weakness," he said.
Macron also called for resuming some sort of dialogue with Russia about Ukraine, and he criticized the sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in March 2014, and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine where more than 13,000 people have died since the conflict began in April 2014.
"It is not a policy, it's a completely inefficient system," Macron said.
"There is a second choice which is to be demanding and restart a strategic dialogue because today we talk less and less, conflicts multiply and we aren't able to resolve them."