Washington – US President Joe Biden launched a fresh attack on Russia’s economy on Friday in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, teaming up with allies to target Moscow through trade and shut down development funds, in addition to announcing a ban on imports of Russian seafood, vodka and diamonds.
Biden, clashing with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the measures would collectively deal “another crushing blow” to the Russian economy, already burdened by global sanctions that have destroyed the ruble’s value and forced the local stock market to close. .
Along with other G7 leaders, Biden called for the repeal of the status “Most Favored Nation” trade given to Russia, which would allow the group’s countries to raise tariffs and set quotas for Russian products. The US Congress would need to pass legislation to revoke trade status, and lawmakers have recently been moving in that direction.
“We remain determined to further isolate Russia from our economies and the international financial system,” the G7 said in a statement.
Trade accounted for about 46% of Russia’s economy in 2020, much of that tied to energy exports that European countries depend on for heating and electricity, making it clear how deeply these decisions will affect Moscow.
The measures have already caused the local economy to collapse, and the IMF now predicts the country will plunge into a “deep recession” this year. On Thursday (10), Moscow banned the export of medical, automotive, agricultural, electrical, technological and telecommunications equipment, as well as some forest products, in retaliation.
HUH – The European Union will suspend Moscow’s privileged trade and economic treatment, crack down on the use of crypto assets and ban exports of luxury goods from the bloc to Russia and imports of iron and steel products, the European Commission president said on Friday. fair.
The new measures, coordinated with the United States and other G7 allies, amount to a fourth set of sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine last month.
“Tomorrow, we will take a fourth package of measures to further isolate Russia and drain the resources it uses to finance this barbaric war,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Along with other Western allies, including the US, the bloc will revoke the status “Most Favored Nation” trade mark given to Russia. This opens the door for the bloc to ban or impose punitive tariffs on Russian goods and put the country on a par with North Korea or Iran.
As a first step, the EU will ban imports of goods from the steel sector.
Von der Leyen said in a statement that the EU is working to suspend Russia’s rights in key multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, ensuring the country cannot access credit in these entities.
The bloc’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, later added that he was putting forward proposals to include more Russian oligarchs, businessmen and companies on the EU’s list of restrictions.
The European Union will specifically ban exports of luxury goods from the bloc to Russia, in what was conceived as a blow to Russian elites.
Finally, the EU will ban new European investment in Russia’s energy sector.
Neon producers are paralyzed
Washington – Ukraine’s two main suppliers of neon, which produce about half of the world’s supply of the key chip-making ingredient, have halted operations because of Russian attacks, threatening to raise prices and exacerbate semiconductor shortages.
About 45% to 54% of the world’s semiconductor-grade neon, essential for lasers used to make chips, comes from two Ukrainian companies, Ingas and Cryoin, according to Reuters calculations based on company and company figures. of market research Techcet. Global consumption of neon for chip production reached around 540 tonnes last year, estimates Techcet.
Both companies have closed their operations, according to representatives contacted by Reuters.
“If inventories run out in April and chipmakers do not have orders settled in other regions of the world, it will likely mean more restrictions on the wider supply chain and an inability to manufacture the final product for many key customers,” said the report. CFRA analyst Angelo Zino.
Before the invasion, Ingas, with a unit in the besieged city of Mariupol, produced 15,000 to 20,000 cubic meters of neon a month for customers in Taiwan, Korea, China, the United States and Germany, with about 75% going to the chips, said the company’s commercial director, Nikolay Avdzhy, in a email for Reuters.
Cryoin, which produces about 10,000 to 15,000 cubic meters of neon a month and is located in Odessa, ceased operations on Feb. , Larissa Bondarenko.
Ukrainian neon is a by-product of Russian steelmaking. The gas, which is also used in laser eye surgery, is also produced in China, but Chinese prices are constantly rising.
Bondarenko says prices, already under pressure after the pandemic, are up as much as 500% from December. According to a Chinese media report citing the market information provider commodities Chinese biiinfo.com, the price of neon gas in China quadrupled from RMB 400/cubic meter in October last year to more than RMB 1,600/cubic meter in late February.
Kremlin criticizes the West
London – The Kremlin said on Friday that the conflict in Ukraine will end when the West takes action on concerns repeatedly expressed by Russia over the killing of civilians in eastern Ukraine and the expansion of the Western military alliance Organization of North Atlantic Treaty (NATO) to the east.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, asked by reporters how the crisis might end, laid out Russia’s position and said he believed Ukraine was discussing Moscow’s demands with the United States and other allies.
“Russia has made concrete demands on Ukraine to resolve these issues. As far as we know, these demands are being discussed by the Ukrainians with their advisers, mainly the United States and the countries of the European Union,” he said.
“Let us have hope. This needs to be done. Then it will all be over,” Peskov said.
Russian officials do not use the word “invasion” and say Western media have failed to report what they call the “genocide” of Russian-speaking people in eastern Ukraine. The West has repeatedly dismissed such concerns.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says “special military operation” in Ukraine is essential to ensure Russian security after the United States extended NATO membership to Russia’s borders and backed pro-Western leaders in Kiev.
Ukraine says it is fighting for its existence while the United States and its European and Asian allies have condemned the Russian invasion. China called for calm.
“Over the past eight years, we have repeatedly tried to ask our Western colleagues to put pressure on Kiev – and force Kiev – to stop killing its people in Donbass and abide by the Minsk accords,” Peskov said.
“Also, during the last few decades, our country has repeatedly raised the question of how we felt in danger after you moved your military structure towards us. We don’t like it and we feel in danger and we can’t turn a blind eye to it: so why are you doing this? There were no answers,” he said.
“We need to find a solution to these two questions. Russia has formulated concrete demands on Ukraine to resolve these issues,” she said.