Evening Update Thursday 24 February

Ukrainian nationals based on the Riviera have gathered on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice to support their compatriots. The crowd of around 60 displayed their national flag and anti-war slogans in front of the Negresco Hotel, as they checked their phones for news of family at home. More mobilizations are planned for Friday and Sunday.

The coach of OGC Nice football club has also spoken of the conflict. At a press conference this morning, Christophe Galtier called on France to support footballers and coaches who are today under bombings.

The French Minister for Finance has made reassurances that conflict in Ukraine will not lead to gas or fuel shortages in France. As gas prices jumped over 30% today, Bruno le Maire said that less than 2% of France’s gas supply comes from Russia and alternative sources are available from Norway and Algeria. The Minister also reaffirmed that the government would maintain its gas price freeze for individuals in all circumstances.

In other news;

Police have arrested five people in Nice and Juans-les-Pens for hacking the mobile phones of caregivers to issue false pass sanitaires. Three of the five were previously unknown to police. The public prosecutor has called for all five to be detained until trial.

A man has been charged in Nice for the attempted murder of his wife. The man had been reported for sexual assault over the weekend, but as his wife did not press charges, he was released on Sunday evening due to a lack of sufficient evidence. Within 48 hours, the woman’s five-year-old son called emergency services, saying his mother has been stabbed and strangled in her sleep. The couple is known to the police for domestic violence dating back two years.

In Antibes, a latest-generation recycling centre has opened today. The structure based at theTrois-Moulins industrial zone will serve Antibes and other areas. The old centre will now become the site for the future Ecotone complex.

Supermarket Leclerc has recalled a batch of smoked salmon due to a risk of listeria. If you’ve purchased salmon at Leclerc recently, you are asked to either throw it away or take it back for a refund.

BUSINESS

The price of oil has sky-rocketed past $100 a barrel today. Russia is the third-largest oil producer globally and fears of disruptions in supply due to the Russian war with Ukraine are driving prices higher.

Europe's financial sector has suffered heavy share price falls this afternoon as investors deal with the invasion. Most large European stock exchanges are down 4% or 5% this afternoon. European banks, who are most exposed to Russia, are particularly badly hit. Shares in France’s Societe General, which operates a Russian subsidiary Rosbank are down 10%. Allianz say they have frozen their Russian government bond exposure, while British lender Lloyds said it’s on heightened alert for cyber-attacks.

Meanwhile the price of gold, which is considered a safe haven in times of trouble, has jumped 3% to its highest price in more than a year.

SPORT

Effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is being felt across the sports world today.

UEFA has said they will move the Champions League final in May from St Petersburg. The decision will be formally announced at an emergency meeting tomorrow. However, they have confirmed that tonight’s Europa League second tie, an away game for St Petersburg’s Zenit against Real Beis will go ahead. However, if Zenit wins, they could face expulsion from the league or face having to play matches in neutral countries.

FIFA are also meeting to discuss what action to take around next month’s World Cup qualifiers, where Russian are scheduled to play Poland and Ukraine are due to meet Scotland.

The International Olympics Committee has condemned the Russian government for breaking the Olympic truce, which began seven days before the start of the Winter Olympics and ends seven days after the closing of the Winter Paralympics. A Russian delegation is due to arrive in Beijing for the Paralympics which begin on March 4th. The IOC say they are in dialogue with the Ukrainian and Russian Committees about the crisis.

Meanwhile, the International Ski Federation is to make a decision on its World Cup competitions which are due to take place in Russia this weekend. The ISF have been exploring alternative options over the past few weeks.

Finally, Formula 1 says it is also closely watching developments with the Russian Grand Prix due to take place in Sochi in September. Sebastian Vettel has already said he will not be there if the Russian Grand Prix goes ahead while reigning champion Max Verstappen added that it would not be right to race there.

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