Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged French corporations to go away the Russian market in his Wednesday handle to the French National Assembly, naming massive retailers and vehicle producers as “sponsors” of the conflict in his residence nation.
“French companies must leave the Russian market,” Zelensky stated to French lawmakers through Zoom. “Renault, Auchan, Leroy Merlin and others. They must cease to be sponsors of Russia’s military machine, sponsors of the killing of children and women, sponsors of rape, robbery and looting by the Russian army.”
“All companies must remember once and for all that values are worth more than profit, especially profit on blood,” he continued. “We must already think about the future. About how we will live after this war.”
Earlier this week, French carmaker Renault resumed operations at its Russian manufacturing amenities as worldwide corporations have pulled in another country as a part of a mass withdrawal in opposition to the invasion of Ukraine. Over 36,000 individuals in Russia work for the corporate and eight % of Renault’s core earnings come from Russia.
Hours after Zelensky’s handle, Renault halted operations at its Moscow plant.
Regarding AvtoVAZ—a serious Russian automotive producer owned by Renault—Renault stated it’s “assessing the available options, taking into account the current environment, while acting responsibly towards its 45,000 employees in Russia.”
French retailers Auchan, a grocery store group, and Leroy Merlin, which sells residence enchancment and gardening merchandise, have continued to function in Russia. Auchan makes $3.5 billion in income from Russia and Leroy Merlin makes $4 billion.
Auchan declined Newsweek‘s request for remark. Newsweek additionally reached out to Leroy Merlin however didn’t hear again earlier than publication.
Other French corporations which are nonetheless in Russia embody sporting items retailer Decathlon and funding financial institution Société Générale, in keeping with the Yale School of Management’s ongoing listing of corporations which are nonetheless doing enterprise within the nation.
On Wednesday, Zelensky additionally pleaded for France to ship extra weapons and air-raid defenses to Ukraine.
“Tomorrow will be a month since Ukrainians have been fighting for their own lives, for their own freedom, since our army has been heroically opposing the overwhelming forces of Russia,” Zelensky stated.
“In order for freedom not to lose, it must be well-armed. Tanks and anti-tank weapons, aviation and air defense,” he added. “In order for freedom not to lose, the world must support it with sanctions against the aggressor, a new sanctions package every week.”
The president described the hostile scenario in Ukraine, telling tales concerning the bombing of a maternity hospital and the ensuing civilian deaths. He emphasised the urgency of the second, saying Europe has not seen such horrors for many years.
“We expect from France, from your leadership, that you will be able to make Russia seek peace, to make it end this war against freedom, against equality, against brotherhood, against everything that made Europe united and full of free diverse life,” Zelensky stated.
He obtained a standing ovation from parliament after his 20-minute speech.
Update 03/24/22, 9:00 a.m. ET: This story was up to date with developments from Renault and remark from Auchan.