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UKRAINE

France promises more tanks for Ukraine after Zelensky visit

France on Monday announced dozens more light tanks and armoured vehicles for Ukraine's army, together with training for the soldiers using them, after Emmanuel Macron and Volodymyr Zelensky had dinner together in Paris.

France promises more tanks for Ukraine after Zelensky visit
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky is welcomed by France's President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee on Sunday. Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP

In their joint statement, French President Emmanuel Macron and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also called for fresh sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

“In the coming weeks, France will train and equip several battalions with tens of armoured vehicles and light tanks including AMX-10RC,” said the statement.

Paris would also focus its efforts “in supporting Ukraine’s air defence capacities in order to defend its population against Russian strikes”.

“Ukraine and France agree on the need to increase collective pressure on Russia through further sanctions to weaken Russia’s ability to continue its illegal war of aggression.”

Their announcement came after Zelensky flew into France late on Sunday and joined Macron for a dinner at the Elysée Palace.

“Paris. With each visit, Ukraine’s defense and offensive capabilities are expanding,” Zelensky tweeted as he flew to the Villacoublay airbase.

“The ties with Europe are getting stronger, and the pressure on Russia is growing.”

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POLITICS

France to sell Russian oligarch’s Riviera chateau

French authorities have put up for sale a luxurious multi-million-euro chateau seized from the Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky who died in 2013 and was a sworn opponent of President Vladimir Putin, the agency handling confiscated assets said on Friday.

France to sell Russian oligarch's Riviera chateau

Berezovsky acquired the Chateau de la Garoupe on the Cote d’Azur in the 1990s while post-Soviet Russia’s first president Boris Yeltsin was in power and the tycoon was considered one of the most powerful people in the country.

But it was confiscated by French authorities in 2015, two years after Berezovsky was found dead in exile at his home in England in circumstances that have never been fully explained. He had by then become a bitter opponent of Putin.

A screenshot from Google Maps, showing the Chateau de la Garoupe along the coast.

The property was built on the prestigious Cap d’Antibes by the British industrialist and MP Charles McLaren, and its rich history has seen it associated with the likes of Pablo Picasso, Cole Porter and Ernest Hemingway.

The chateau “represents exceptional architectural and cultural heritage. Its acquisition offers a unique opportunity to own a prestigious residence steeped in history in an enchanting setting,” France’s Agrasc agency on confiscated assets said in a statement.

Interested parties can express their interest from June 16th to July 17th and those validated as possible buyers can submit bids from September.

The chateau, like the neighbouring property of the Clocher (Belltower) de la Garoupe, also owned by Berezovsky, was confiscated after being judged to be the proceeds of money laundering committed by investment company Sifi and its manager, Jean-Louis Bordes.

They were ruled to have acted as a front for Berezovsky.

Reacting in response to an initial complaint filed by Russia, the French authorities needed 10 years to unravel the complex history of purchases including that of the Chateau de la Garoupe in December 1996.

The Cote d’Azur has been popular with rich Russians going back to visits from the imperial family at the turn of the century.

After the collapse of the USSR, it became a favourite playground for the country’s oligarchs.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions from the West has made owning property and even entering France increasingly problematic for many Russians.

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