France says sanctions will cause 'collapse' of Russian economy

A currency exchange in Moscow. France, the EU and others said earlier they would impose a new round of sanctions on Russia. PHOTO: NYTIMES

PARIS (AFP) - France said on Tuesday (March 1) that Western sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine will cause the Russian economy to collapse.

"We will bring about the collapse of the Russian economy," Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told the Franceinfo broadcaster a day after France, the European Union and others said they would impose a new round of sanctions on Russia.

The balance of power in the sanctions stand-off between the European Union and Russia is "totally" in favour of the EU which "is in the process of discovering its own economic power", he said.

On Monday, the EU added top Kremlin-linked oligarchs and Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman to its sanctions blacklist.

Among the high-profile names were close Putin allies Igor Sechin, head of state oil giant Rosneft, and Mr Nikolay Tokarev, boss of pipeline mammoth Transneft.

Three men ranked within Russia's 10 top richest by Forbes were also added: metals magnate Alexei Mordashov, tycoon Alisher Usmanov, and businessman and Mr Putin's friend Gennady Timchenko.

An aide to French President Emmanuel Macron also told reporters on Monday that the imposition of new sanctions, which are to "raise the cost" of Putin's war, was "a priority".

Follow The Straits Times' live coverage on the Ukraine crisis here.

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