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UKRAINE

France earmarks 1 mn euros for Ukrainian artists

France said Saturday it had set aside one million euros ($1 million) for Ukrainian artists fleeing war in their country after Russia invaded as part of a fund also open to "Russian dissidents".

A protester holds a Ukrainian flag in Strasbourg
A protester holds a Ukrainian flag during a rally to support Ukraine in Strasbourg, eastern France, on March 12th, 2022, on the 17th day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP

Under the scheme, artists who qualified and their families would be offered three-month residencies, the culture ministry said in a statement.

The fund would also in part cover grants for research or performances.

France’s Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot this week said France would help Russian artists “forced into exile”.

She also said rallies by Russian cultural institutions or artists backing Russian President Vladimir Putin had been cancelled or postponed.

Nearly 2.6 million people have fled Ukraine in a little over two weeks since the invasion, the United Nations says.

Of those, France says it has welcomed 10,000 Ukrainian refugees.

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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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