10 new nails into the coffin of Russian economy

7 April, 05:04 PM
People in Moscow on March 30 (Photo:REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov)

People in Moscow on March 30 (Photo:REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov)

Diplomatically, this was the most difficult wave of sanctions to arrange. But it’s here, and it’s powerful.

Many of these new Western sanctions on Russia are exactly what Ukraine has been pushing for.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had numerous meetings and gave many speeches, imploring our partners to implement really crippling sanctions against Russia. Similarly, I was telling them that, while we are grateful for everything they’ve done so far, the war is still going on, and therefore there is a need for more sanctions.

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When the fate of this century hangs in the balance, it’s suicidal and hypocritical to keep thinking about one’s business partners.

Enough with half-measures and reasons to not do more for Ukraine and Europe itself.

Here are 10 new hits on Russia’s economy, financial system, trade, international influence, that were implemented over the last three days:

·       The United States, UK, EU, and G7 have banned all investments into Russia;

·       The United States, EU, and G7 have sanctioned Russia’s biggest state-owned and private banks: Sberbank and Alfa-Bank. Two thirds of Russian banking is effectively blocked by Washington;

·       Personal sanctions against Putin’s daughters, the family of their foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, PM Mishustin, Dmitry Medvedev, and other members of Russia’s security council. Medvedev recently published an article, detailing Moscow’s plans to deprive the Ukrainian people of agency, by force;

·       The UK has frozen the assets of Moscow Credit Bank, and imposed sanctions on Russian oligarchs Boris Rotenberg and Leonid Mikhelson;

·       18 European countries (Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Greece, Portugal, Estonia, Latvia, Chechia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, North Macedonia, Luxembourg, Italy, Germany, France, Sweden, and Denmark) have expelled a total of 318 Russian “diplomats;”

·       The Dutch have seized 14 Russian superyachts;

·       Denmark froze $11.8 million in Russian assets;

·       The U.S. Treasury has suspended Russia’s ability to service its sovereign debt using accounts in U.S. banks. Today, Russia was unable to make one of their debt payments for the first time, putting Moscow on a track to a sovereign debt default in May;

·       The United States is freezing the assets of some of Russia’s largest state enterprises. Their list is expected tomorrow;

We were able to make the EU’s fifth sanction package much more robust than was originally envisaged. A full ban on coal imports from Russia (EUR 4 billion, annually), a ban on all transactions with four Russian banks, including VTB (23% of their banking sector), a ban on Russian ships entering EU ports, a ban on exporting hi-tech goods and components to Russia (EUR 10 billion, includes semiconductors, computing, and certain machinery). Russian industry will be hard pressed to obtain many crucial components due to the ban on Russian and Belarussian trucks from entering the EU.

I’m grateful to our partners for these decisions. But, in order to avert new Bucha massacres and further suffering, we have to keep pushing forward. Tough diplomatic battles lie ahead of us. Namely, the push for a full energy embargo (we already got coal, now focusing on oil). The battle to close all ports around the globe to Russian ships and goods (we’ve already achieved that in Europe). The battle to disconnect all Russian banks from SWIFT.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow, the entire world will be throwing Russia out of the UN Human Rights Council: A corresponding resolution for the UN General Assembly was tabled by Ukraine and our partners on April 6.

Step by step, we’re dropping the hammer of justice on the Russian butchers: our Armed Forces – on the battlefield, our diplomats – around the world.

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