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Russia Tries To Counter Western Sanctions With Bans On Key Exports

On Thursday, Russia responded to the waves of widespread sanctions imposed on their economy following the Russian invasion of Ukraine by announcing an export ban on more than 200 types of foreign-made items. The ban will run until at least the end of 2022, and will apply to products and other equipment that were previously imported into Russia.

“The list includes technological, communication and medical equipment, vehicles, agricultural machinery and electrical equipment — more than 200 types of goods in total,” said an order signed by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. “This measure is necessary to provide stability on the Russian market.”

According to Reuters, banned items include “telecom, medical, auto, agricultural, electrical and tech equipment, as well as some forestry products.”

“These measures are a logical response to those imposed against Russia and are aimed at ensuring uninterrupted functioning of key sectors of the economy,” Russia’s economy ministry said.

While this announcement will affect imports from all foreign countries, exceptions can be made for members of the Eurasian Economic Union (a Russia-led collection of former Soviet states), as well as Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The export of “some types of timber” is also banned for 48 countries who supposedly “committed unfriendly actions” towards Russia, including the United States and European Union nations.

This response from Russia follows weeks of increasingly harsh economic sanctions and related actions by Western governments and companies. In late February, for example, the United States and multiple other nations announced via a joint statement that they would be implementing a SWIFT sanction on multiple Russian banks, in addition to other actions:

First, we commit to ensuring that selected Russian banks are removed from the SWIFT messaging system. This will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally.

Second, we commit to imposing restrictive measures that will prevent the Russian Central Bank from deploying its international reserves in ways that undermine the impact of our sanctions.

Days later, two United Kingdom-based global petroleum giants announced that they would be ending partnerships with Russian oil companies in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

British Petroleum first announced that it was divesting from state-controlled Russian oil giant Rosneft. BP has had nearly a 20% stake in Rosneft since 2013, and both current BP CEO Bernard Looney and former CEO Bob Dudley served on Rosneft’s board of directors. In addition to severing its financial ties, Looney, who has been on the board of Rosneft since 2020, and Dudley, who has been on the board since 2013, will both resign from their positions.

“Russia’s attack on Ukraine is an act of aggression which is having tragic consequences across the region,” BP chair Helge Lund said in a statement. “[BP] has operated in Russia for over 30 years, working with brilliant Russian colleagues. However, this military action represents a fundamental change. It has led the [BP] board to conclude, after a thorough process, that our involvement with Rosneft, a state-owned enterprise, simply cannot continue. We can no longer support [BP] representatives holding a role on the Rosneft board. The Rosneft holding is no longer aligned with [BP’s] business and strategy and it is now the board’s decision to exit [BP’s] shareholding in Rosneft. The [BP] board believes these decisions are in the best long-term interests of all our shareholders.”

BP’s announcement was followed by British oil giant Shell announcing that it would discontinue its joint ventures with Russian oil company Gazprom.

Ian Haworth is a writer for The Daily Wire and contributor to Morning Wire. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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