Evening Update Monday 28 February 2022

President Macron has spoken to President Putin in a phone call lasting one and a half hours today. The Elysees said that President Macron had asked the Russian president to halt all strikes and attacks against civilians and residences, preserve civil infrastructure and secure main roads. The statement from the Elysees said that President Putin confirmed his willingness to commit to those requests. It also said that President Macron had asked his Russian counterpart to stay in touch in the coming days to prevent an escalation of the conflict, to which he is said to have agreed.

French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, has said that there is still an opportunity for French people in Kiev to leave the city. Speaking after a special defence council meeting this morning, he said that Russia had stated that all civilians are able to leave Kyiv by road. He added that the French government will be able to provide those who decide to leave with information regarding crossing points, but that it could not guarantee complete safety or be able to provide assistance on the journey.

Meanwhile, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has said that the government has decided to intensify what he called "economic and financial sanctions against Russia and Russian oligarchs". He said that the government was compiling an inventory of assets owned by Russians subject to EU sanctions. He added that all the French assets of the Russian central bank were frozen last night.

Nice mayor and president of the Nice Cote d'Azur Metropole Christian Estrosi has announced the launch of a major fundraising campaign for Ukraine in our region. The campaign aims to send the Ukrainian people the basic necessities they need such as medicines, warm clothes, dry food and products for children. He said that the services of the Metropole will ensure the collection and delivery of the humanitarian aid to the most efficient distribution channels under the control of the Health, Environmental and Risk Management Agency. The annex town halls and the AnimaNice leisure centres will soon be able to receive donations. Christian Estrosi also expressed his thanks to the mayors of the Metropole for organizing collections in their locality.

As of today, in France the wearing of a mask is no longer compulsory in closed places subject to the “vaccination pass”. Restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theatres and museums are some of the places covered by the change. However, mask wearing is still mandatory on public transport and in shops. Also as of today, the health protocol in schools in Zone A goes from level 3 to level 2 on the return from the winter holidays. The change in Zone B schools has already taken place and will start in Zone C schools on March 7.

Various changes have also been made to health protocols in Monaco as from today. They include the abolition of the obligation to wear a mask at school during recess and indoor sports practice. Cosumption of food and drinks outside a catering area solely dedicated to this purpose becomes possible, for example at the cinema or at the stadium. Standing cocktails, consumption at the counter, standing tables, and cloakroom service also becomes possible. However, the government said that places welcoming the public will stll remain subject to the presentation of a health pass for the moment.

The latest data released by the Monaco government show that, as at yesterday evening, 8 people suffering from Covid-19 were being  taken care of at the Princess Grace hospital. 7 people, including 4 residents, are hospitalized. One patient, a non-resident, is being treated in intensive care. Yesterday evening 90 people were being monitored by the Home Monitoring Centre which medically supports patients with few symptoms.

President Macron's election campaign team has announced this afternoon that the President will not be visiting Marseille this Saturday as planned.

The theme of next year's Nice Carnival has been announced. As is traditional, the theme of the next year's event is announced at the close of the preceding year's Carnival. Last night Nice Mayor Chrstian Estrosi said that the theme for next year will be "the treasures of our world heritage". It's been chosen to celebrate the inclusion of Nice on the World Heritage List as a winter resort town.

 

BUSINESS

The United States government has announced an immediate prohibition on all transactions with the Russian central bank. The US Treasury said it had prohibited United States persons from engaging in transactions with the Russian Central Bank, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Finance. In addition, the US government announced sanctions on a key Russian sovereign wealth fund and its Chief Executive Officer.

Russia has more than doubled its interest rate in a bid to halt a sharp fall in the rouble. The Bank of Russia raised the rate to 20% from 9.5%. At the weekend, Russia's central bank issued an appeal for calm amid fears that new financial sanctions could spark a run on banks. It said it had the "the necessary resources and tools to maintain financial stability." However, there have been reports of long queues at cash machines today.

German stock exchange Deutche Borse has suspended the shares of several Russian companies including VTB Bank and Sberbank. The London listed shares of Sberbank fell by about 70% earlier today. The European Central Bank warned that Sberbank Europe and two of its subsidiaries are "failing or likely to fail" because of a deterioration in their liquidity situation.


SPORT

Football... Reports say that Jesse Marsch is set to succeed Marcelo Bielsa as head coach at Leeds United. Marsch has previously been at German sides RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg as well as the New York Red Bulls.

Gianluigi Buffon has extended his contract with Parma until 2024, meaning he will be 46 years old when it expires. The former Italian national side player first signed to Parma back in 1995 and rejoined on a two-year deal last summer.

Cricket... England womens team have beaten Bangladesh by 109 runs in their World Cup warm up match. Nat Sciver scored a century.

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