France freezes assets of Russian bank, oligarchs as sanctions pile

China offers support to Russia on "outrageous" sanctions • Poland proposes total EU ban on trade with Russia

 French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin give a press conference after a summit on Ukraine at the Elysee Palace in Paris, December 9, 2019 (photo credit: VIA REUTERS)
French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin give a press conference after a summit on Ukraine at the Elysee Palace in Paris, December 9, 2019
(photo credit: VIA REUTERS)

France will freeze Russian funds worth some €22 million, Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told RTL Radio on Sunday, Russian state-owned TASS news agency reported.

The freeze of the Bank of Russia assets joins a freeze of all accounts and properties of Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the West. Russian property on French territory worth up to half a billion euros, according to Le Maire, was frozen along with two yachts worth €150 million which were confiscated.

"We have managed to unveil and freeze the assets of Russian tycoons totally worth €1.8 billion on French territory apart from the Russian Central Bank’s assets," the finance minister said.

Sanctions against Russia over its war in Ukraine are hurting its economy and President Vladimir Putin, the finance minister added, noting that banning Russian oil and gas imports into the European Union remained an option for Paris.

"They're hurting the Russian state and they're hurting Vladimir Putin," Bruno Le Maire told LCI television in an interview.

"Should we in the immediate stop buying Russian oil, should a little bit further down the line we stop importing Russian gas? The president has never ruled out these options."

 Plastic letters arranged to read ''Sanctions'' and solider toys are placed in front of Ukraine's and Russia's flag colors in this illustration taken February 25, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION) Plastic letters arranged to read ''Sanctions'' and solider toys are placed in front of Ukraine's and Russia's flag colors in this illustration taken February 25, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION)

Read more from The Jerusalem Post's coverage of the Russia-Ukraine War:

China offers support to Russia on "outrageous" sanctions

A senior Chinese government official said on Saturday that sanctions imposed by Western nations on Russia over Ukraine are increasingly "outrageous."

Vice foreign minister Le Yucheng also acknowledged Moscow's point of view on NATO, saying the alliance should not further expand eastwards, forcing a nuclear power like Russia "into a corner."

China has yet to condemn Russia's action in Ukraine or call it an invasion, though it has expressed deep concern about the war. Beijing has also opposed economic sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, which it says are unilateral and are not authorized by the UN Security Council.

"The sanctions against Russia are getting more and more outrageous," Le said at a security forum in Beijing, adding that Russian citizens were being deprived of overseas assets "for no reason."

"History has proven time and again that sanctions cannot solve problems. Sanctions will only harm ordinary people, impact the economic and financial system... and worsen the global economy."

 RUSSIAN PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing earlier this month.  (credit: Sputnik/Kremlin/Reuters) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing earlier this month. (credit: Sputnik/Kremlin/Reuters)

Poland proposes total EU ban on trade with Russia

Poland has proposed to the European Union that the bloc impose a total ban on trade with Russia, Prime Minister Mateus Morawiecki said on Saturday, urging tougher sanctions on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

"Poland is proposing to add a trade blockade to this package of sanctions as soon as possible, (including) both of its seaports... but also a ban on land trade. Fully cutting off Russia's trade would further force Russia to consider whether it would be better to stop this cruel war," Morawiecki said.

Prior, the Polish government had announced it will present a proposal to organize a peacekeeping mission in Ukraine at the upcoming NATO summit and European Council meeting.

The idea was put forward by Jarosław Kaczyński, the head of the ruling party, during the visit to Kyiv of the Polish, Czech and Slovenian prime ministers.

During the daring visit last week, The prime ministers of Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic met Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky on as a curfew began in Kyiv.

Afterward, the Czech leader told Ukrainians that they were "not alone". They are the first Western leaders to visit Ukraine since Russia invaded.

"We admire your brave fight," Petr Fiala wrote in a tweet. "We know that you're also fighting for our lives. You're not alone, our countries stand by your side." "Your visit is a powerful expression of support for Ukraine," President Zelensky was quoted telling the group.

Poland's Mateusz Morawiecki tweeted that Ukraine was reminding Europe what courage was. It was time for "sluggish and decayed" Europe to reawaken and "breakthrough her wall of indifference and give Ukraine hope", he said.