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UKRAINE

Macron: Russia’s attack on Ukraine will ‘deeply destabilise’ food supplies in Europe

Russia's attack on Ukraine will "deeply destabilise" food supplies in Europe and Africa as some of the world's most fertile agricultural land goes unplanted, French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Friday.

Macron: Russia's attack on Ukraine will 'deeply destabilise' food supplies in Europe
French President Emmanuel Macron holds a press conference following an EU leaders summit to discuss the fallout of Russia's invasion in Ukraine, at the Palace of Versailles. Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP

“Europe and also Africa will be very deeply destabilised as regards food because of what can’t be planted right now in Ukraine,” Macron told reporters after an EU leaders’ meeting at Versailles Palace outside Paris.

“We will have to prepare for that and re-evaluate our production strategies to defend our food sovereignty… but also to be able to define a strategy concerning Africa,” he added.

Without it, he warned, “several African countries will be affected by famines within 12 to 18 months precisely because of the war.”

The French leader added that still more economic punishment would be piled on Russia if it continues its invasion of its neighbour.

“If things continue in the military way… we will take further sanctions, including massive sanctions,” he said, trailing a G7 statement on potential further measures “in a few hours”.

“All options are on the table,” he added, after EU nations have held off in the first weeks of the conflict from cutting off crucial oil and gas imports from major supplier Russia.

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UKRAINE

France ‘strongly condemns’ Russia’s expulsion of its diplomats

France "strongly condemns" the expulsion of 34 of its diplomats by Russia, the foreign ministry said Wednesday, a tit-for-tat move by Moscow after Paris ordered some Russian staff to leave.

France 'strongly condemns' Russia's expulsion of its diplomats

Saying the step had “no legitimate basis”, the ministry said in a statementthat “the work of the diplomats and staff at (France’s) embassy in Russia… takes place fully within the framework of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic and consular relations” — whereas Paris expelled the Russian staff in April on suspicion of being spies.

Moscow said Wednesday it was expelling 34 “employees of French diplomatic missions” in a tit-for-tat move following the
expulsion of Russian diplomats from France as part of joint European action over Russia’s campaign in Ukraine.

“Thirty four employees of French diplomatic missions in Russia have been declared persona non grata,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that they have two weeks to leave the country.

Moscow made the announcement after summoning France’s ambassador to Russia, Pierre Levy, and telling him that the expulsion of 41 employees of Russian diplomatic missions was a “provocative and unfounded decision”, the statement
said.

“It has been stressed that this step causes serious damage to Russian-French relations and constructive bilateral cooperation,” the foreign ministry said.

French President Emmanuel Macron initially led diplomatic outreach to the Kremlin over Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine but his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin have eventually tapered off and overt French military
support to Ukraine has increased in recent months.

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