France says sanctions will cause Russian economy to ‘collapse’ – Reuters
France says sanctions will cause Russian economy to ‘collapse’
PARIS (AFP) – France said on Tuesday that Western sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine would cause the Russian economy to collapse.
“We are going to cause the Russian economy to collapse,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told broadcaster Franceinfo a day after France, the EU and others said they would impose a new round of restrictions. sanctions on Russia.
“The balance of economic and financial power is totally in favor of the European Union which is in the process of discovering its own economic power”, he declared.
“We are waging an all-out economic and financial war against Russia,” he said.
On Monday, the EU added top Kremlin-linked oligarchs and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman to its sanctions blacklist.
High-profile names included close Putin allies Igor Sechin, head of national oil giant Rosneft, and Nikolay Tokarev, boss of the massive Transneft pipeline.
Three men ranked among Russia’s 10 richest by Forbes were also added: metal magnate Alexei Mordashov, tycoon Alisher Usmanov and businessman and friend of Putin Gennady Timchenko.
The Mayor said the total amount of frozen Russian assets amounted to “nearly $1 trillion”.
After Russia’s central bank raised its key rate to 20% on Monday, “companies can only borrow at high rates,” Le Maire said.
The Mayor acknowledged that ordinary Russians would also suffer from the impact of the sanctions, “but we don’t know how we can handle this differently”.
The Mayor said he would meet with the two French energy giants TotalEnergies and Engie in the coming days to decide on their involvement in Russian energy projects.
There was now “a problem of principle” with any collaboration with people close to Putin, Le Maire said.
His remarks, which come after other energy majors including Shell and BP announced they would pull out of Russia, sent Engie’s share price tumbling 5% in early trading. Paris Stock Exchange Tuesday.
Engie is notably involved in the Russian gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2, which Germany suspended last week when Moscow recognized two Ukrainian separatist republics.
An aide to French President Emmanuel Macron also told reporters on Monday that imposing new sanctions, which are to “increase the cost” of Putin’s war, was “a priority”.
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