Vladimir Putin
Russia President, Vladimir Putin

200,000 may lose jobs in Moscow over sanctions -Mayor

NEWS DIGEST – Around 200,000 employees of foreign companies in Moscow could lose their jobs due to sanctions over Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, the city’s mayor said on Monday.

“According to our estimates, about 200,000 people are at risk of losing their jobs,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said in a blog post.

He said authorities had last week approved a $41-million programme to support employment in the Russian capital.

“First of all, the programme is aimed at employees of foreign companies that have temporarily suspended their operations or decided to leave Russia,” Sobyanin noted.

Hundreds of mainly Western companies have announced the suspension of their activities or their departure from Russia after President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24.

Sobyanin said the newly-approved programme was expected to support more than 58,000 people who had lost their jobs, adding that around 12,500 of them would undergo retraining.

He said people in between jobs would be offered to get involved in public works in a number of city organisations, parks and elsewhere.

Economists believe that the worst economic impact of debilitating Western sanctions is still to come and expect Russia to plunge into a deep recession.

– Ukraine shows video of detained Putin ally calling for Mariupol swap –

Meanwhile, Ukraine on Monday aired a video showing Viktor Medvedchuk, a detained pro-Russia tycoon and ally of President Vladimir Putin, seeking to be exchanged in return for an evacuation of civilians and troops from the besieged port city of Mariupol.

“I want to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to exchange me for Ukrainian defenders and residents of Mariupol,” he said in the video published by Kyiv’s security services, wearing black clothes and looking directly into the camera.

Medvedchuk, who escaped from house arrest after Russia’s invasion and was detained last week, said the troops and residents there “do not have the possibility of a safe exit through humanitarian corridors”.

Medvedchuk is one of Ukraine’s richest people and is known for his close ties to Putin. He is also a politician.

He says Putin is the godfather to his youngest daughter, Darya.

The Kremlin had earlier rejected the idea of exchanging him for Ukrainians detained by Russia, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky floated the idea of a swap.

Separately on Monday Russian state TV broadcast a video Monday of what it described as “Britons” captured fighting for Ukraine demanding that Prime Minister Boris Johnson negotiate their release.

The two men shown in the video asked to be exchanged for Medvedchuk, who had been accused of treason and attempting to steal natural resources from Russia-annexed Crimea and of handing Ukrainian military secrets to Moscow.

AFP

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