U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken with his French counterpart to discuss concerns about reports of Russian military activity "in and near Ukraine" and to stress their commitment to Kyiv's territorial integrity.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement on November 14 that Blinken and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also discussed issues related to Iran's nuclear program.
Blinken spoke with Le Drian "to discuss reports of concerning Russian military activity in and near Ukraine and their continued ironclad commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity." The statement did not provide further details of their discussions, which Price said occurred on November 13. U.S. officials last week raised alarm bells over Russian activities near Ukraine, where Kremlin-backed separatists control swaths of territory in an ongoing seven-year conflict.
Blinken warned Russia against making another "serious mistake" on Ukraine as Washington sought information about an alleged Russian troop movement near the border that the Pentagon called "unusual in its size and scope."
EU officials reiterated those concerns on November 12 and said they were monitoring the situation along with their U.S. and British allies. France articulated its concerns and warned Moscow that any aggressive actions would have "serious consequences." Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed Western suggestions Moscow might be considering offensive military action and accused Washington of aggressive moves in the Black Sea, where Ukraine and the United States have held major military drills in recent months.
France remains a participant in a landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal, along with Britain, Germany, China, Russia, and the European Union.
President Donald Trump in 2018 pulled the United States out of the pact, but his successor, Joe Biden, has said he wants to return to negotiations with an aim to returning on the condition that Tehran fully complies with its terms. Both Washington and Paris have expressed concerns about Iran's violation of many of the conditions of the pact.