Evening Update Thursday 3 March 2022

The vaccination pass in France is being suspended from Monday 14 March. Prime Minister Jean Castex made the announcement during an interview on French television this lunchtime. The health pass will remain in force, except in emergencies, at the entrance to hospitals, in retirement homes and in establishments for disabled adults. He also said that the compulsory wearing of masks in almost all places where it is currently required will also end on 14 March. Masks will still be required on public transport.

Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce his intention to enter the presidential election shortly. French media are reporting that he will announce he is standing for re-election in a letter to the French which will be published in regional newspapers tomorrow and will start appearing on their websites this evening. He is then expected to make a formal application to the Constitutional Council to stand in the election before the deadline at 6pm tomorrow.

President Macron spoke with the leaders of Ukraine and Russia this morning. He had a lengthy telephone conversation with President Putin and then spoke with Ukraine's President Zelensky. According to the Kremlin, President Putin told the French president that he would continue his campaign in Ukraine "without compromise". He also expressed his disagreement with the speech given by President Macron last night. The Elysees said after the phone call that President Putin's goal is to take complete control of Ukraine and "the worst is yet to come".

The French government has strongly recommended that French nationals whose presence and that of their family is not essential in Russia, make arrangements to leave the country via the links that still exist. It also strongly encouraged French people present in Russia to make themselves known to consular services. It said that it is advisable to postpone any trip to Russia. In an open letter to French people last week the ambassador to Russia, Pierre Lévy, recommend that French people passing through Russia such as students, tourists, visitors and professionals on assignment, leave Russian territory as soon as possible.

French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said today that there are still one thousand French and dual nationals in Ukraine. He said that the government advises them "to leave by the southern route".

The Alpes-Maritime Prefecture has launched a special section on it's website dedicated to information regarding the conflict in Ukraine. It includes national information from the Ministry of the Interior, details on staying in France for Ukrainian nationals and information for businesses affected by the crisis. The prefecture has set up a specific unit responsible for identifying the various initiatives and the various offers made by the public such as accommodation and donations. It can be reached by e-mail on pref-accueil-ukraine@alpes-maritimes.gouv.fr and by telephone on 04.93.72.21.81 Further details can also be found on the Prefecture's website https://www.alpes-maritimes.gouv.fr/Actualites/Situation-en-Ukraine

Nice mayor Christian Estrosi has been visiting the Salon de l’Agriculture in Paris. Farmers and producers from the PACA region have been displaying their wares at the show which is taking place at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles. They include ravioli from the Hautes-Alpes, wines from Bellet, flowers from the Var, strawberries from Carpentras and lavender from Vaucluse. The exhibition is open until Sunday.


BUSINESS

The London Stock Exchange has suspended 27 companies with links to Russia. The LSE said it was making the move in the light of market conditions and "in order to maintain orderly markets". Meanwhile, the Moscow Stock Exchange has remained closed today for the fourth consecutive day.

The UK government has said that it will introduce further sanctions targeted at the provision of insurance and reinsurance services for Russian companies. It said it will bring in legislation to prohibit UK based insurance and reinsurance providers from undertaking financial transactions connected with a Russian entity or for use in Russia. The UK is a world leader in those sectors of the global insurance market through Lloyd’s and the London Market.

Drinks company Diagio has announced that it has paused it's exports to Russia and Ukraine. The company owns brands including Guinness, Smirnoff, Johnny Walker and Baileys.

Online fashion retailer Boohoo has issued an update on its activities in Russia. Immediately following the invasion, the company suspended sales to Russia, and also closed its Russian trading websites. It said that sales made by group companies into Russia are not material, totalling less than 0.1% of group revenues. It added that it is "deeply concerned about the tragic developments in Ukraine".

 

SPORT

Motorsports... Formula 1 has terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix. The race in Sochi scheduled for this September had already been cancelled and there will now be no race in St Petersburg, where it was due to be held next year.

Max Verstappen has signed a new deal with Red Bull that lasts until 2028. He was already committed to the team until the end of next year and Red Bull said the new contract was "in addition to" his existing deal.

Olympics... the International Paralympic Committee has reversed it's decision announced yesterday that it would allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete as "neutrals". In a statement it said the "situation in the athlete villages" was "untenable" and Russia and Belarus will now not be allowed to compete at the Winter Paralympics which begin in Beijing on Friday.

 

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