Countries Giving Russian Sanctions
In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, February 24, 2022, Western countries decided on new strong economic sanctions. Russian sanctions including the exclusion of certain Russian banks from the international Swift payments system and the freezing of the assets of the Russian Central Bank.
More than 11,000 financial institutions in more than 200 countries and territories currently use the Swift system.
The Swift system is therefore a central tool in carrying out international transactions. By excluding 60 to 70% of Russian banks from this system, the desire of Western countries is to isolate Russia financially.
The 27 EU countries had already chosen to put in place sanctions following the annexation of Crimea in 2014, the war in the Donbass and the crash of flight MH17 in 2014. A strategy that they have been replicating since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, with heavier sanctions than before.
The Russian financial sector is particularly targeted. The reserves of the Russian Central Bank placed in the European Union, but also in the G7 countries, are frozen in order to prevent any transaction or repatriation of these liquidities to Russia.
Similarly, prominent Russian personalities like Vladimir Putin, his head of diplomacy Sergei Lavrov, high military ranks and oligarchs have their financial assets held in the EU frozen. In total, 488 people and entities are initially targeted, to which were added on Sunday 26 names of additional oligarchs and a Russian entity, specifies Bercy. In addition to spokesman Dmitri Peskov, there are businessmen, senior army officers and half a dozen journalists. The list was approved by member states and published in the Official Journal of the EU on Monday, February 28, 2022.
The European Union is also preparing to exclude certain Russian banks from the Swift messaging and transaction system, a key cog in global finance and trade. The identity of the banks involved is not yet known. Institutions like Gazprombank which finance the energy sector, on which Europe is very dependent, could thus not be excluded from Swift.
In an attempt to suffocate the Russian economy, exports of “crucial technologies” from the European Union to Russia are also suspended. This affects electronic components, software, equipment for the aeronautics and space industry or parts useful for oil refining.
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Other measures with economic implications, European airspace has been closed to Russian planes and companies since midnight February 27, 2022. Finally, Brussels intends to ban the Russian news media Russia Today and Sputnik, both financed by Moscow.
Some European countries have taken specific national measures. Germany has suspended the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, already built but not yet in operation, which is to transport gas from Russia.
The Russian Sanctions in the US, the Americans have agreed with the Europeans on the nature of the sanctions. They also froze the assets of the Russian Central Bank, the assets of oligarchs, executives of the Russian regime and part of the technological exports to Russia.
Four Russian banks, including the country’s two largest, Sberbank and VTB Bank, are also to be sanctioned, as the United States plans to deprive the Russian state and 13 Russian companies, including Gazprom, of access to capital markets Westerners.
In line with their government’s action against Russian financial institutions, US companies Mastercard and Visa have also blocked their credit card and payment services to Russian banks using them.
Aligned with the United States and the European Union, London blocked the financial assets of more than 120 Russian companies and personalities in the accounts of British establishments. A freeze accompanied by territorial bans against relatives of Vladimir Putin and a closure of its airspace to Russian companies. Boris Johnson has also promised to tackle economic crime in a law, in particular that of the oligarchs who have been pouring their fortunes of dubious origin into the City since the 2000s.
The Prime Minister plans to “totally exclude Russian banks of the UK financial sector. The British government also decided on Monday afternoon to ban Russian-flagged vessels, as well as those chartered or owned by Russians, from entering UK ports.
Russian Sanctions in Canada
In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also targeted Vladimir Putin, Sergei Lavrov, and around 60 people and companies close to Russian power who will be sanctioned. Canada has also chosen to block export permits for Russia, for a value of 487 million euros in the aerospace, mining and information technology sectors.
Canadian airspace is closed to Russian aircraft like that of the European Union.
Outside the G7: Australia and Switzerland
In solidarity with Europe and the United States, Australia targets Russian personalities and entities close to power with financial sanctions.
Switzerland initially chose not to imitate Western sanctions against Russia, and the question of freezing Russian assets was debated there. But ultimately the country opted to resume full European Union economic sanctions, including against President Vladimir Putin, and asset freezes.
Turkey prohibits the passage of warships between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (southeastern extremity of Europe).
Turkish President Erdogan, who has never recognized the annexation of Crimea, considers the Russian attack on Ukraine “unacceptable”.
Taiwan also says it is joining the economic sanctions from February 24, 2022 via the voice of Joseph Wu, Taiwanese Minister of Foreign Affairs. The latter describes the Russian action as a “violation of the Charter of the United Nations”. Taiwan therefore votes to exclude Russia from the SWIFT system; decision announced by Premier Su Tseng-chang himself.
On Monday, February 28, 2022, Singapore announced the imposition of sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, including blocking financial transactions and exports of goods that could be used as weapons against Ukrainians.
Japan (via the voice of its Prime Minister Fumio Kishida), also joined the sanctions from February 25; by banning exports to Russia in the field of semiconductors. He also decides to freeze Vladimir Putin’s assets. Additionally, Japan is joining Western countries in excluding some Russian banks from the Swift platform.
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Subsequently Japan adopts new sanctions include freezing of assets and suspension of issuing visas to Russian persons and organizations.
Japan adopts sanctions against the President of Belarus and the bank Russian central bank on February 28, 2022. On March 1, 2022, the assets of Vladimir Putin and the Russian central bank were frozen.
South Korea announced on February 28, 2022 to join the international process to exclude Russia from the SWIFT system.
On March 2, 2022, the World Bank announces the immediate suspension of all its aid programs in Russia and Belarus.
International Companies Giving Russian Sanctions
On February 27, 2022, BP announced that it would withdraw from its activities in Russia, including its 19.75% stake in Rosneft and all its stakes in subsidiaries common to the two companies63. This exit could potentially represent a financial burden of 25 billion dollars for BP. On February 28, 2022, Shell announced in turn the withdrawal of its activities in Russia, including a 10% stake in Nord Stream 2, but also its 27.5% stake in Sakhalin II. On March 1, Eni announced the sale of its 50% stake in the Blue Stream gas pipeline linking Russia to Turkey66. The same day, Centrica announced that it was seeking to end its gas contracts with Russian companies, notably Gazprom.
On February 28, 2022, several social media groups, including Meta, Google, Twitter restrict the use of their advertising platform to RT and Sputnik in Europe, while TikTok and Twitter block access to their account in Europe. The same day, Disney, Warner Bros and Sony Pictures announced that they were suspending the release of their films in Russia.
On March 3, 2022, the Russian regulator banned the broadcast of the Dojd television channel, because it criticized its way of broadcasting information, as well as the independent Echo radio station in Moscow. They are both accused of relaying “calls to commit extremist and violent acts” and publishing “knowingly erroneous information regarding the activities of Russian military personnel”. Following this, the Dojd TV channel suspended its work, and the Moscow Echo radio dissolved its board of directors.
On March 4, Russia restricts access to BBC, Deutsche Welle, Meduza and Svoboda72 media and Facebook is banned in Russia. On March 4, 2022, CNN stops broadcasting in Russia.
Physical stores and consumer products
On March 1, Apple announced that it was suspending the sale of its physical products in Russia, in addition to having deactivated the applications of RT and Sputnik. The same day, Nike suspended its internet deliveries to Russia, the same goes for Puma the next day, which however kept its stores open.
On March 2, H&M announced that it was suspending its sales in Russia. On March 3, the London-based satellite operator OneWeb suspended launches from Baikonur. On the same date, Ikea suspended its activities in Russia and Belarus.
On March 4, Intel, AMD and Airbnb suspend operations in Russia and Belarus. On the same day, LVMH temporarily closed all of its 124 stores in Russia82, similarly Canadian Tire temporarily suspended its 41 stores.
On February 27, 2022, UPS and FedEx announced that they were temporarily suspending their deliveries to Russia and Ukraine.
On February 28, 2022, AerCap, the world’s largest aircraft leasing company, announces that it is ending its activities in Russia, which represents 5% of its activity.
On March 1, the French shipowner CMA CGM decided to no longer serve Russian ports until further notice86. Just like the Danish shipowner Maersk on the same date87. Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has also decided to stop all activity to Russia. The same goes for Ocean Network Express and Hapag Lloyd On March 2, 2022, Kuehne+Nagel suspends all deliveries to Russia.
On February 28, Daimler Truck announced that it was suspending its activities in Russia and seeking to sell its 15% stake in Kamaz.
On March 2, Boeing and Airbus announced that they would end their maintenance and spare parts delivery activities to Russian companies.
On February 27, the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund announced its withdrawal from all activity in Russia, which then represented nearly 25 billion Norwegian crowns out of its 1,300 billion Norwegian crowns in assets.
On March 4, 2022, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank suspends its activities in Russia and Belarus.
Sports Organizations Giving Russian Sanctions
International Olympic Committee
The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee is urging all international sports federations on February 25 to cancel or relocate any event planned in Russia or Belarus. On February 28, the IOC asks them to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from all their sports competitions.
International Paralympic Committee
After initially admitting Russian and Belarusian athletes “under a neutral banner” to the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games, the International Paralympic Committee reversed course on March 3 and, agreeing with IOC recommendations, excluded them from competitions which start the next day, explaining his decision in particular by the fact that “many Paralympic committees, teams and athletes have threatened not to compete, endangering the viability of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games”.
On February 28, 2022, the Euroleague and Eurocup suspended Russian clubs from their competition.
After having initially authorized Russian and Belarusian biathletes to compete under a neutral banner and without a national anthem (in the event of victory), the IBU decided on March 2 to ban biathletes from Russia and Belarus from all competitions. of the IBU.
On February 25, the International Chess Federation announced that all official competitions, including the Chess Olympiad scheduled for Moscow, would be moved to countries other than Russia.
On February 28, the International Equestrian Federation announced that all official competitions scheduled in Russia and Belarus would be canceled. These two countries are also cut off from any aid from the federation.
On February 25, UEFA transferred the Champions League final from Saint Petersburg to Paris, at the Stade de France.
On February 26, for lack of reaction from FIFA, Sweden and Poland, who are to meet Russia in the qualifying phase of the 2022 World Cup, announce that they will not play against Russia.
On February 28, FIFA and UEFA exclude Russia from the qualifying play-offs for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and all teams still involved in European competitions. UEFA also announces the termination of its partnership with Gazprom. Russian clubs are also suspended from the Champions League.
On February 28, the IIHF suspended Russia and Belarus and their clubs from all competitions until further notice. This includes the 2022 World Junior Championships, in August in Edmonton, as well as the 2023 edition, originally scheduled for Novosibirsk and Omsk.
On February 27, the IJF announces the suspension of the status of “honorary president and ambassador” of Vladimir Putin.
On March 1, the organizing committee for the world championships and the French Ice Sports Federation announced that Russian and Belarusian skaters could not participate in the 2022 world championships, which would be held in Montpellier from March 23 to 26107.
On February 25, the FIA announced that the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, scheduled for September 25, 2022, had been cancelled108. The World Automobile Council then rules on the case of the Russian and Belarusian drivers, authorizing them to participate in competitions under neutral status and under the FIA109 flag. However, the Formula 1 pilot Nikita Mazepin is not allowed by the British authorities to participate in the next Grand Prix of Great Britain.
On March 1, the ITF announces the immediate suspension of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) and the Belarus Tennis Federation (BTF). It also suspends their national teams from all competitions (Davis Cup, Billie Jean King Cup, etc.).
On February 26, while the world championship in Russia is maintained by the International Federation, the French team, Olympic champion in title, announces that it will not go there. On March 1, the organization of the 2022 world championship is withdrawn from Russia.
Sources: PinterPandai, Aljazeera, BBC, Financial Times, Reuters
Photo credit: Pxhere (CC0 Public Domain)