A war of words erupted Tuesday after Moscow’s top security official threatened Paris with “real war” in response to a minister's remarks about waging an “economic war” to punish Russia for launching an attack on Ukraine.
“Today, some French minister has said that they declared an economic war on Russia. Watch your tongue, gentlemen! And don’t forget that in human history, economic wars quite often turned into real ones,” former Russian President and Deputy Chair of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, wrote on Twitter.
His tweet was prompted by remarks earlier Tuesday from French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who said his country is "waging a total economic and financial war on Russia."
“The sanctions imposed on Russia are extremely effective. We are waging a total economic and financial war on Russia. We are going to cause the collapse of the Russian economy,” he told FranceInfo news.
Le Maire announced new sanctions against Moscow on Feb. 28, including freezing the assets of the Russian Central Bank and cutting off certain banks from the SWIFT international network.
France will also seize the assets of Russian oligarchs or personalities close to the Kremlin, he said.
Following Medvedev's threat, Le Maire said he regretted his “inappropriate comments.”
"The term ‘war’ was inappropriate and does not correspond to our strategy of de-escalation,” FranceInfo news quoted Le Maire. “We are not in conflict with the Russian people.”