Russia’s invasion of Ukraine casts ‘a very long shadow’ over French presidential election
08 March 2022 | 6:19 am
The war in Ukraine may be keeping Emmanuel Macron off the campaign trail, but the benefit to the French president has been clear: for the first time, a poll over the weekend saw him getting more than 30 percent of votes in the first round. The conflict has given Macron an opportunity to demonstrate his leadership. Meanwhile, candidates from far-right Marine Le Pen to far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon have been stuck defending their past sympathies for Vladimir Putin and their calls to withdraw France from NATO. Andrew Smith, a senior lecturer in contemporary history and politics at the University of Chichester, tells us "it’s going to be a strange campaign".
There are calls for empathy and the end of mistreatment of Africans stuck on the border of Ukraine as they try to flee the war that's followed Russia's invasion. Thousands of Africans study in Ukraine and many have been sharing their suffering and fear after having been sidelined, attacked and discriminated against as they try to flee.
As aggressive sanctions hit Russia over the war in Ukraine, a growing number of Western firms are cutting ties with the country. While ordinary Russians stand to be hit hard, the EU has also imposed more targeted measures at business elites. We take a closer look.
Gas prices have risen to record levels and gas storage facilities are far from full. With Germany dependant on Russia's gas taps, energy supplies are becoming a powerful political weapon to use against the West.
The situation in Ukraine is the focus of the world's media. The shelling of Kharkiv has been condemned as a war crime by the EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. There has been damage across the whole of Ukraine, but the next phase of the Russian operation is expected to be even more violent. Ukrainian people say they are resolute and prepared to lay down their lives – perhaps best represented by their own president. Volodymyr Zelensky is still in Kyiv and says he is ready to fight.
FRANCE 24's Olivia Salazar-Winspear takes a closer look at the cultural consequences of the war in Ukraine, as dissident Russian artists speak out at home and abroad. Boycotts in the film industry are also hitting home, with Disney, Sony and Warner Brothers movies on pause in Russia and film festivals targeting Russian productions.
The US, EU and their allies have been announcing measures designed to isolate and weaken the Russian economy. Since 2014, Vladimir Putin has been taking pre-emptive steps to protect the economy from future sanctions. But Brian O'Toole, a former US Treasury official and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, says that in the face of Western sanctions, "Fortress Russia is gone."
With the city of Kharkiv devastated and Kyiv braced for attack by an approaching Russian convoy, we are asking whether the US has made the right calls on Ukraine. The message of Biden's State of the Union address was one of solidarity with President Volodymyr Zelensky. But seen from Kyiv, will this feel like enough?
EU interior ministers are expected to agree on a temporary protection mechanism for people fleeing Russia's war in Ukraine. The number of people fleeing into neighboring countries could run into the millions.
The cultural world has reacted swiftly to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Artists and performers have been cancelling shows in Russia, while cultural institutions are under growing pressure to cut ties with Russian oligarchs. The country will also no longer be represented at major international events, including the Eurovision Song Contest. We're joined by Ukrainian artist Nikita Kravtsov, who's also one of the organisers of "Support Ukraine" in France. He denounced a "genocide" in his country and called for the West to implement a no-fly zone over Ukrainian skies.
As bells ring out across Europe in support of Ukrainian citizens, refugees fleeing the country are now in excess of a million, and on the Polish border women and children part ways with the men who must return and fight Russian forces.France has welcomed the first refugees with open arms, their plight uniting public opinion more than, for instance, the Syrian refugee crisis ever did, military supplies have been sent...but is this enough?
As bells ring out across Europe in support of Ukraine, refugees fleeing the country are now in excess of a million. On the Polish border, women and children part ways with the men who must return and fight against Russian forces. France has welcomed the first Ukrainian refugees with open arms. Their plight is uniting public opinion more than the Syrian refugee crisis ever did. Meanwhile, military supplies have been sent to Ukraine...but is this enough?
Ukraine's government sets up a special hotline for Africans and other foreign students trying to make it out of the country amid Russia's invasion. Meanwhile, an international coalition of activists file an appeal to the United Nations over racism at the country's borders. We hear from the UN's Special Rapporteur on racism and xenophobia, E. Tendayi Achiume.
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