A French official defends criticism of Ukraine backing and claims nuclear energy is essential for “independence” from Russia.

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The French ambassador to the United States, Philippe Etienne, defended France’s criticism of the U.N. Security Council as well as its support of Ukraine against Russian aggression, telling Fox News Digital that the body has demonstrated “steel” and “confidence.”

In an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital, Etienne stated, “I think the recent weeks have showed more steel, more confidence not only in our Western democracies, but also in great south countries like India and even China in the declarations about the implications of the war.”

The U.N. Security Council came under heavy fire as Russia, which had veto power over all actions and was a permanent member of the body, constantly obstructed attempts to denounce Russia’s invasion or requests for a ceasefire or humanitarian corridors.

For the month of September, France served as the Security Council’s president. During this time, the tension particularly escalated as Putin announced his intention to annexe four disputed regions of Ukraine. The situation in Ukraine would be “at the center” of the Security Council’s concerns, French U.N. Ambassador Nicolas de Riviere declared at the beginning of his term as council president.

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Etienne, who once advised French President Emmanuel Macron, argued that Ukraine’s friends must continue to put pressure on Russia despite the fact that the sanctions adopted in reaction to the invasion are still having a negative impact on the rest of the world.

“We definitely need to increase pressure and, of course, take care of the challenges this conflict has brought to all countries, such food security and energy,” added Etienne.

Referring to humanitarian aid and asserting that France was the driving force behind the European Union plan to provide Ukraine with arms and training, he refuted criticism that claimed France had not done enough to defend Ukraine against Russia.

He noted that while France was the EU’s President, it approved “budgets of the European Union” to arm Ukraine, saying, “I think we have done, and we are continuing to do very much, not only as president of the Union to welcome the refugees, to decide with our E.U. colleagues, to welcome the refugees on humanitarian and economic support as well as in the military field.”

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He insisted, “It’s a first in history.” It was decided when we were in office. but also through a direct bilateral military arrangement, such as artillery, which the Ukrainians really value and which greatly supports their efforts.

Western countries hoped to devastate Russia’s economy and pressure Vladimir Putin to end the conflict. The Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany as well as the gas to Bulgaria and Poland were eventually shut down as a result of Putin’s reduction in gas shipments to Europe. Energy prices increased as a result of the shutdown and other causes, raising concerns of an energy crisis before winter.

Therefore, European countries have looked at measures to increase their independence from Russia, which according to Eurostat accounts for roughly 29% of Europe’s imports of crude oil, much surpassing that of the United States, which is the second-largest supplier with 9%.

The Baltic Pipeline was activated by Denmark, Greece, and Bulgaria, which will help provide oil and gas to the Balkans and lessen Russia’s hold on the region, in response to that substantial decline in supplies.

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France thinks that maintaining its investment in nuclear power is crucial to achieving energy independence from Russia.

According to Etienne, nuclear energy has always played a significant role in France’s energy supply. Not only do we currently produce nuclear energy, but our president also announced the new construction of a new generation of nuclear reactors a year prior to the start of the conflict.

So nuclear civil nuclear energy unquestionably will be and remain a very significant component of our supply, said Etienne. It’s advantageous for both our independence and the transition to a more sustainable climate.

Even Germany has changed its mind about shutting down all of its nuclear facilities completely by the end of 2022 and is keeping two of its remaining three units operational to assist ease the worsening energy crisis.

Etienne also talked about French attempts to allay worries about a food shortfall as Russia halted grain and fertilizer deliveries. Together, Russia and Ukraine generate 29% of the world’s grain exports, earning the moniker “the breadbasket of Europe.”

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