French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire vowed to “cause the collapse of the Russian economy” with a “total economic and financial war on Russia,”.
During the interview, Le Maire said “I want to leave no room for ambiguity regarding the European determination on this issue. We are going to wage a total economic and financial war against Russia.”
The interviewer with France Info asked if it would be “against Russia or against Vladimir Putin?”
Le Maire responded, “Against Russia, against Vladimir Putin, against his government. But the Russian people will also pay the consequences.”
“Let us be clear. We want to target the heart of the Russian system, we target Vladimir Putin, we target the oligarchs but we also target the whole Russian economy. So we will cause the collapse of the Russian economy.”
The comments from French Finance Minister Le Maire came in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
However, since the airing of the interview Le Maire has tried to backtrack on the language he used, stating that he misspoke and that the term “war” was not compatible with the actions France has taken in recent days to resolve the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Le Maire told French news agency AFP that France is not “in a battle against the Russian people,”
In response to French Finance Minister Le Maire’s remarks, Russia’s former president and prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, who is now the deputy chair of the Security Council of the Russian Federation cautioned Le Maire about his rhetoric.
“Watch your tongue, gentlemen! And don’t forget that in human history, economic wars quite often turned into real ones,” Medvedev said in a Tweet.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio responded to Medvedev on Twitter stating that Russia has “bigger problems than what a French minister said” and that Russia’s “economy is headed to 3rd world status”.