Evening Update Tuesday 1 March 2022

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has clarified remarks he made this morning regarding the impact of economic sanctions on Russia. In an interview on franceinfo this morning he said that "we are going to wage a total economic and financial war on Russia". The remarks attracted criticism, including from former President and Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev who tweeted "don't forget that in human history, economic wars quite often turned into real ones". This afternoon Bruno Le Maire backpeddled on his comments, saying that "the term war used this morning on franceinfo was inappropriate and does not correspond to our strategy of de-escalation". He added that "we are not in conflict with the Russian people". In the interview this morning the minister also said that the French government is willing to go along with the EU in the further strengthening of economic and financial sanctions. He added that sanctions will be applied until President Putin "returns to better intentions in Ukraine" and becomes aware that "the United States and Europe together are by far the most powerful economic, financial continent on the planet".

French Prime Minister Jean Castex has said that France's participation in NATO will be strengthened. Speaking to the National Assembly this afternoon, he said that France was going to take the lead in a multinational force which will be deployed in Romania, which is a neighbouring state to Ukraine. Reports say that over five hundred French soldiers left for Romania from an airbase at Istres near Marseille earlier today.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Layen announced this afternoon that at least €500 million from the EU budget will be used for humanitarian aid. The EU has already announced the allocation of 500 million euros to buy weapons for Ukranian fighters. She also said that the Commission is proposing to activate a temporary protection mechanism to provide refugees with a secure status and access to schools, medical care and work.

Representatives of the Ukrainian and Russian communities in Nice have held a meeting this morning. Mayor Christian Estrosi said that the meeting was for those who want to fraternize to show that they are together against the conflict. He said that he doesn't "want to let this conflict carry over to us". The mayor said that he had seen "extraordinary outpourings of generosity" in Nice and the Nice Cote d'Azur Metropole. He said that two things were being carried out - the coordination of the reception of refugees and the appeal for donations, in particular of medicines. He announced a phone number for those who wish to help, which is 04 97 13 59 00 and an e-mail address  soutien.ukraine@nicecotedazur.org

One person has been slightly injured after an accident at a construction site in Cannes this morning. Reports say that the man was trapped under rubble at the works at the Palm Beach Hotel but was dug out by rescuers and taken to hospital for further observation.

The government in Monaco said yesterday evening that the Covid-19 incidence rate over the past 7 days was 493 per 100,000 people, which is an increase from the figure of 436 recorded in the previous week. The positivity rate for tests carried out on residents and non-residents was 9.02%.

The Prefect of the Var has reminded residents that people with a fake vaccination pass can go to a centre to get vaccinated, cancel the fraudulent pass and register a new one. More details are available on the Prefecture's website www.var.gouv.fr


BUSINESS

Several major businesses and have announced the severing of ties with Russia. Shipping company AP Moller-Maersk said that it is temporarily halting all container shipping to and from Russia. Payment company Mastercard said that as a result of sanction orders, it had "blocked multiple financial institutions" from the Mastercard payment network. Jaguar Land Rover says it has paused the delivery of its cars to Russia due to what it called "trading challenges". Adidas has announced the suspension of its partnership with the Russian Football Federation. Warner Bros, Disney and Sony have all halted the release of films in Russian cinemas. The UK's biggest pension scheme, the Universities Superannuation Scheme said that it had sold about half of its Russian investments in recent weeks.

French energy company TotalEnergies has said that it will no longer provide capital for new projects in Russia. However, it hasn't announced plans to divest an almost 20% stake in Russia's largest producer of liquified natural gas. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire has said that he will be holding talks with the company regarding it's investments in the country.

 

SPORT

Cricket... South Africa have beaten New Zealand by 198 runs on the final day of the Second Test. New Zealand were aiming for 426 runs for victory but were bowled out for 227. The result means that the two-Test series was drawn 1-1.

England's Jason Roy has pulled out of the 2022 Indian Premier League. He said that "everything going on in the world over the last three years" had taken its toll on him and he felt it was right to spend some quality time with his family "as well as spending time working on myself."

Football... Everton have received an apology from the head of the professional referees body after they were denied a penalty in their 1-0 defeat by Manchester City on Saturday. Everton had complained to the Premier League after Manchester City player Rodri appeared to use his arm to control the ball.

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