Hello everyone, today is Monday, March 7, 2022. Later in the afternoon, the President of the Constitutional Council, Laurent Fabius, will announce the official list of eleven... or twelve candidates for the presidential election - Philippe Poutou's qualification will be based on the number of signatures he has collected on Friday suspended (missing 61 at the last count). If you're impatient and don't want to lose a beat, you can follow everything here.
Hello Vova. The day after the fourth call between Emmanuel Macron and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin since the start of the invasion decided by the latter, Moscow announced the opening of humanitarian corridors around Kiev, Mariupol, Kharkiv and Sumy from 8 a.m. Paris time. The Russian Defense Ministry said the decision followed "Emmanuel Macron's request".
Let's be careful: before the roll call, the weekend was largely marked by two failed attempts to evacuate civilians from the port city of Mariupol, as Russia appeared to accept the opening of humanitarian corridors. Moscow, however, continued its bombardments in the strategic port in the east of the country, as well as in Kharkiv, the second city of Ukraine. In these cities as elsewhere, images of neighborhoods reduced to rubble multiply as the conflict enters its twelfth day.
During the telephone call debriefed by the Elysée to the press yesterday afternoon, Macron recalled that it was "necessary to respect international humanitarian law", "to ensure the protection of civilians" and "to grant humanitarian access". The plea, not to say an understatement, hits a wall: in the words of the Elysée, "Putin denied that his army was targeting civilians and civilian installations" and blamed the Ukrainians, "allowing the encirclement Population ". "let go of the cities". According to the United Nations, 1.5 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the invasion.
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Macron also raised the issue of the safety of Ukrainian nuclear power plants after taking over that of Zaporizhia, in the south-east of the country, on Friday. He therefore insisted on the fact that "the security standards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are respected" and that "no offensive against nuclear power plants must take place". In return, the Russian president had assured that he had "no intention of attacking these power stations" and that he was "ready to respect the standards in question", continued the Elysée. Putin also agreed, according to Paris, that a "dialogue will open" between Russia, Ukraine and the IAEA, which is meeting today.
WE HAVE MANY IDEAS BUT WE WANT MORE OIL. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who will be received at the Elysee Palace on Tuesday, told CNN yesterday that the United States and the EU were "currently" discussing "the prospect" of "banning imports of Russian oil while ensuring that...there is always an adequate supply of oil on world markets." The US government is under political pressure from all quarters in this regard, since the country is much less dependent on Russian hydrocarbon imports than its European allies. The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, interviewed on the same channel, was also much more reluctant and only mentioned the objective of the 27 to "get rid of (its) dependence on Russian fossil fuels".
IN THE CLUB. The ambassadors of the 27 are today debating the question of Ukraine's membership, which France does not want to let go. The question must be approached with "openness and caution", declared the Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune to my colleagues in Brussels. More information in the Beyond Quiévrain playbook.
CEMA CULPA. In an interview with Le Monde this weekend, the Chief of the Defense Staff, General Thierry Burkhard, admitted an error in the analysis of French intelligence on the situation before the Russian invasion: "The Americans said the Russians were going to attack, they were right. On the contrary, our services believed that capturing Ukraine would entail huge costs and that the Russians had other options,” he explained.