France threatens to ‘cause the collapse of the Russian economy’
Bruno Le Maire, France’s Minister of the Economy, has pledged that his country will “wage a total economic and financial war on Russia,” outlining how Europe will seek to punish Moscow and President Vladimir Putin over the invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking to Franceinfo on Tuesday, the government minister was clear that sanctions will be “applied” to individuals and entities until “Vladimir Putin returns to better intentions in Ukraine.”
Stating that “488 personalities” have been added to the list of individuals currently under European sanctions over the conflict, Le Maire says France will “target the heart of the Russian system,” including Putin and oligarchs, making clear that the “Russian people will also pay the consequences.”
“The sanctions are effective, the economic and financial sanctions are even extremely effective,” Le Maire said, claiming “Russian foreign exchange reserves are melting like snow in the sun,” as the “ruble has collapsed by 30%.”
Beyond the sanctions that have already been imposed, Le Maire outlined how Europe is seeking to move from freezing assets to the seizure of assets, as the European Union (EU) seeks to make sure “no oligarch will slip through the mesh of our nets.”
While not divulging specific details, Le Maire floated military concerns across the EU, claiming that, in the wake of “this deliberate aggression,” Europe has “become aware of the need to arm itself militarily.”
The comments from the French minister come after Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, claimed that Moscow has no plans to occupy Ukraine following last week’s military assault on its neighbor.
“Occupation of Ukraine is not part of our plans. The purpose of this special operation is to protect people, who have been subjected to abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for the past eight years. This is why it’s necessary to demilitarize and de-nazify Ukraine,” Nebenzia said, reiterating Putin’s earlier justification for the conflict.