UPDATED: France says it has frozen more than 800 million euros worth of Russian oligarch assets

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PARIS, March 23 (Reuters) – France has frozen more than 800 million euros ($879.20 million)worth of assets belonging to Russian oligarchs, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday. He provided no details.

On Sunday, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on TV channel LCI that France so far had frozen some 150 million euros on private citizens’ bank accounts with French financial institutions in France and 539 million euros worth of real estate on French territory, corresponding to about thirty properties or apartments.

France also had immobilised two Russian-owned yachts worth about 150 million, Le Maire said, adding that some 850 million euros worth of Russian assets had been frozen.

  •  Moscow and Kyiv have made two prisoner exchanges so far, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.
  •  Russia’s Defence Ministry on Wednesday said Russian forces had hit a Ukrainian arms depot outside the country’s northwestern city of Rivne on Tuesday, destroying an arsenal of weapons and equipment.

The ministry said it had struck the depot using high-precision, long-range weapons fired from the sea.

  – The governor of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine said agreement had been reached on a local ceasefire to evacuate civilians trapped by fighting.

Governor Serhiy Gaidai said on the Telegram messaging app that the ceasefire would come into force at 9 a.m. (0700 GMT).

The UK’s Ministry of Defence has issued its latest daily “Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine”.

They claim:

  • The battlefield across northern Ukraine remains largely static with Russian forces likely conducting a period of reorganisation before resuming large-scale offensive operations.
  • Russian forces are attempting to envelop Ukrainian forces in the east of the country as they advance from the direction of Kharkiv in the north and Mariupol in the south.
  • Russian forces are still attempting to circumvent Mykolaiv as they look to drive west towards Odesa.

Meanwhile, an agreement has been reached to try to evacuate civilians trapped in Ukrainian towns and cities through nine “humanitarian corridors” on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

Signalling no agreement had been reached with Russia to establish a safe corridor form the heart of Mariupol, she said people wishing to leave the besieged port city would find transport in nearby Berdyansk.

Photo courtesy Ukrainian MOD

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