French companies must ‘stop sponsoring the Russian war machine’ – POLITICO

PARIS — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged French companies to leave Russia in an address to the French parliament on Wednesday.

“French companies must exit the Russian market…Renault, Auchan, Leroy Merlin and others must stop sponsoring the Russian war machine,” Zelenskyy, wearing his now signature green T-shirt, told lawmakers in France’s two chambers of parliament.

The French automaker, supermarket group and hardware store, which has maintained or resumed operations in Russia, finances “murders of children and women and rapes,” said Zelenskyy, adding, “Everyone must remember that assets are worth more than profits.”

After addressing the US Congress, the German Bundestag and the Italian Parliament, the Ukrainian leader also called on French MPs to agree on tougher sanctions against Russia and to back Kiev’s bid to join the European Union.

“We don’t see that week after week [effects of the] Sanctions,” said Zelenskyy, describing atrocities his government accuses Russian forces of, including the bombing of a maternity and children’s hospital in the southeastern city of Mariupol.

In an address just three weeks before the first round of voting in France’s presidential election, Zelenskyy told lawmakers that President Emmanuel Macron, who is the favorite for re-election, has shown “true leadership”.

The deputies, who are actually on leave, gave the Ukrainian leader a standing ovation. Many wore blue and yellow accessories in support of the Ukrainian people.

Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate who is second in opinion polls, attended the event after initially saying she didn’t feel it necessary for her to voice her support for Zelenskyy. Your National Rally Party has longstanding ties with Russia.

Also present were Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Nicolas Dupont-Aignant, two other presidential candidates accused of complacency with Russia.

“Ukraine is part of the European family,” said Gérard Larcher, president of the French Senate and a prominent conservative. French companies must 'stop sponsoring the Russian war machine' - POLITICO

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