Russian economic pain will be greater than anticipated: Market analyst
The U.S., U.K., European Union and Asian nations have ramped up sanctions against Russia in an effort to isolate the country following its invasion of Ukraine. Moscow has retaliated by banning airlines from 36 nations from its airspace and ordering economic counter measures, including restrictions on residents transferring foreign currency abroad.
Below are the major steps that have been taken.
President Joe Biden’s administration has banned U.S. people and companies from doing business with the central bank of Russia, immobilizing nearly half of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war chest. The move comes after Washington said over the weekend it would ban major Russian banks from the SWIFT financial messaging service in coordination with European allies.
- The U.S. has ordered 12 Russian diplomats to the United Nations to leave
- White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the expelled Russians “had abused their privileges of residency in the United States by engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security”
- The Biden administration is asking crypto exchanges to help ensure that Russian individuals and organizations aren’t using virtual currencies to avoid sanctions leveled on them by Washington, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter
- Mastercard Inc. and Visa Inc. have blocked certain Russian activity from their payment networks to comply with international sanctions
- The U.S. companies did not name the affected customers, but cited efforts around the world to isolate Russia from the financial system in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine
- The U.S. banned transactions with the Russian central bank, the Russian National Wealth Fund and the Ministry of Finance
- The moves will “effectively immobilize” any Russian central bank assets held in the U.S. or by U.S. nationals, according to the Treasury
- Putin’s war chest is an estimated US$630 billion in reserves; Russia’s own data published in January shows that US$100 billion of the reserves were held in U.S. dollars as of June
- The U.S. separately issued a license allowing certain energy transactions with the central bank, an exemption a senior administration official said is aimed at minimizing the effects on energy markets in Europe
- The U.S. said sanctions on the Russian Direct Investment Fund would also extend to its CEO, Kirill Dmitriev, a close Putin ally
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an asset freeze against all major Russian banks, including an immediate freeze on VTB, Russia’s second largest bank.
- The U.K. has instructed ports to block any vessels they believe are owned, controlled, chartered or operated by any person connected with Russia, or by sanctioned individuals. Vessels flying the Russian flag or registered in Russia are also to be blocked
- The U.K. was one of the main drivers to ban several Russian banks from using SWIFT and is calling for a total SWIFT ban for Russia
- The U.K. government has also sanctioned five banks: Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and the Black Sea Bank
- Legislation to stop all major Russian companies from raising finance on U.K. markets, and also to prohibit the Russian state from raising sovereign debt on U.K. markets. The new law will come into force Tuesday
- Sanctions on more than 100 individuals, entities and their subsidiaries, including Rostec, Russia’s biggest defense company. Wealthy individuals include:
- Kirill Shamalov, Russia’s youngest billionaire and Putin’s former son-in-law
- Petr Fradkov, head of Promsvyazbank (itself already sanctioned) and son of former head of FSB
- Denis Bortnikov, deputy president of VTB
- Yury Slyusar, director of United Aircraft Corp.
- Elena Georgieva, chair of the board of Novicom Bank
- Volga Group founder and Novatek shareholder Gennady Timchenko
- Stroygazmontazh founder Boris Rotenberg
- Gazprom Bureniye shareholder Igor Rotenberg, Boris Rotenberg’s nephew
- Imminent ban on Aeroflot planes landing in the U.K.
- Immediate ban on all exports of goods that could have military use, such as electrical components and truck parts
- Legislation to prohibit a range of technology exports such as semiconductors and aircraft parts as well as goods for the extractive industries, such as oil refinery equipment
- Limit of 50,000 pounds (US$67,000) on deposits by Russian nationals in U.K. bank accounts
- All sanctions also apply to Belarus
- Accelerate passage of an economic crime bill to target illicit Russian money in the U.K. -- legislation due to be presented on Tuesday
- Plans, in conjunction with the U.S. and EU, to forbid any U.K. national from carrying out financial transactions involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the Russian National Wealth Fund and Russia’s Ministry of Finance
The 27-nation bloc imposed two sets of sanctions against Russia, and is preparing further measures that will also include Belarus, according to official statements and people familiar with the matter. The most significant of the existing and proposed measures include:
- A ban on all transactions with the Russian central bank and freezing its assets
- Shutting down EU airspace to all Russian planes, including the private jets of oligarchs
- Banning Russian state-owned media companies Russia Today and Sputnik
- Excluding major Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system
- Sanctioning some of Russia’s wealthiest tycoons as well as top officials in state companies and media
- Stopping exports from Belarus of products from mineral fuels to tobacco, wood and timber, cement, iron and steel
- Sanctioning those Belorussians helping the Russian war effort
- Stopping financial inflows from Russia into the EU by imposing limits on bank deposits and barring Russians from investing in EU securities
- In lockstep with the U.S., introducing export controls on dual-use and high-tech goods, with a particular focus on electronics, computers, telecom and information security, sensors and lasers and marine applications
- Banning exports of aircraft, aircraft parts and related equipment, as well as a ban on the sale of equipment and technology needed to update Russian oil refineries to modern environmental standards
- Turkey will restrict Russian warships from using waterways it controls to transit into the Black Sea due to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, according to two Turkish officials familiar with the matter
President Ignazio Cassis of Switzerland, a historically neutral state that is not a member of the European Union, said the country would adopt the bloc’s sanctions on Russia, including asset freezes.
- The Swiss government announced it will enforce EU sanctions against hundreds of Russian lawmakers and other officials including Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov “with immediate effect”
- Swiss airspace will also be closed to all aircraft “with Russian markings” from 3 p.m. today
Canada has matched U.S. and European sanctions on major Russian banks and key Russian individuals, including on Putin himself and his inner circle.
- All Canadian banks are prohibited from transactions with the Russian Central Bank, and all Canadians are banned from doing any deal involving new Russian debt
- Canada has barred Russian airlines from using its airspace, and banned the import of Russian crude oil (although Canada hasn’t imported any since 2019)
- It has canceled all existing export permits and halted new ones, which primarily affects the aerospace, technology and minerals sectors
- Canadians are also prohibited from any financial dealings involving the disputed Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.
Japan, South Korea and Singapore, among other Asian nations, have indicated they will join some U.S. and European measures designed to deter Putin and the Russian government from continuing its assault on Ukraine. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced late Sunday that Japan would back measures on SWIFT and freeze the assets of Putin and certain other Russian officials
- The planned curbs by Japan on Russian use of the banking sector messaging system come on top of export controls and a ban on visa issuance
- Opinion polls show more support for sanctions among members of the Japanese public this time round, compared with 2014, when Russia invaded Crimea
- Speaking in parliament Monday, Kishida said the decision on SWIFT came after requests from the U.S. and European nations
- South Korea will strengthen its screening of export control approvals and ban shipments of strategic goods to Russia, according to a foreign ministry statement
- The country will participate in the SWIFT ban and decide on details after discussion
- It will seek additional release of strategic oil reserve to help stabilize international energy market and consider resale of LNG to Europe
- South Korea will increase humanitarian aid to Ukraine
- Singapore’s government will impose unilateral sanctions against Russia, a move which a former diplomat said was the first time in decades that the city-state was censuring a foreign nation without United Nations Security Council backing
- Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said Singapore plans to impose export controls on items that can be used as weapons in Ukraine “to inflict harm or to subjugate the Ukrainians”
- Singapore will also block certain Russian banks and financial transactions connected to the country; the measures are being worked out and will be announced shortly, Balakrishnan told parliament on Monday
- Some of China’s buyers have halted purchases of Russian coal due to concerns over Western sanctions that limit money transfers related to Russian exports, according to Chinese consultant Fenwei Energy Information Services Co.
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