US President Biden announced new sanctions against Russia
The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on Russian oligarchs and politicians in connection with the invasion of Ukraine. Among them are the family of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, 12 members of the Russian State Duma and ten members of the board of directors of the Russian bank VTB. In reference to the US Treasury Department, Reuters reported.
Peskov’s wife, Tatyana Navkova, and their two grown children, Nikolai Peskov and Jelizaveta Peskovova, are among those who have recently made the ever-growing US sanctions list. The United States will also freeze the assets of Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg and 12 members of the Russian Duma, including its president Vyacheslav Volodin.
“The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Affairs (OFAC) today issued a new round of sanctions against Russian and Kremlin elites, oligarchs, and Russian political and national security officials who support the brutal invasion. of Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin,” he said. US Treasury Department.
President Biden said Wednesday that the United States is banning imports of oil, liquefied natural gas and coal from Russia. Alcohol, diamonds and seafood were also added to the list of prohibited imports on Friday. According to US correspondent David Miřejovský, sanctions in the United States have the effect of encouraging liquor store owners not to sell Russian liquor at all.
Biden called Russian President Putin an “aggressor” who must “pay” for his actions. He also pointed out that the United States would expand the list of sanctioned Russian oligarchs and ban the export of luxury goods to Russia. “These are the last steps we take, but not the last.”
Removing the most-favoured-nation clause will pave the way for the United States and its G7 allies to impose tariffs on a wide range of Russian goods, Reuters reported.
According to the joint statement, each of the G7 member states (Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States plus the European Union) pledged to take action to abolish the most-favoured-nation clause, which provides Russia with the best possible trade terms. “(Ending these benefits) in concert with other countries, which make up half of the global economy, will be another devastating blow to the Russian economy,” Biden said.
G7 members also said they were working together to prevent Russia from obtaining funding from major multilateral financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. They are also ready to impose new restrictions on Russian exports and imports of important goods and technology. They will also seek to maintain the stability of energy markets and ensure global food security.
In the United States, the most-favoured-nation clause is called Permanent Normal Trade Relationship Status (PNTR). The removal of this status will still have to be approved by the US Congress. However, lawmakers in both houses and on both sides of the political spectrum signaled in advance that they would support the measures.
The severance of normal trade relations with Russia is another in a series of measures by which Washington is trying to force Moscow to end the war in Ukraine, which has more than 40 million people. This measure will lead, among other things, to an increase in import duties. For example, the duty on plywood will increase from zero to 30%, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Russia is the United States’ 23rd largest trading partner. Last year, mutual trade amounted to $36.1 billion (829 billion crowns), of which $29.7 billion (682 billion crowns) were imports from Russia. About three-fifths went to oil, coal and gas.
Congress approved the draft budget with the help of Ukraine
Politicians in the U.S. Congress agree with the White House’s actions, Thursday included a draft new federal budget, which also includes $13.6 billion to help Ukraine and the eastern wing of the NATO, where the refugees are heading now. According to the Miřejovský correspondent, ordinary Americans recently approved of the sanctions and their further tightening.
But they too, like the inhabitants of the Czech Republic, are quite reluctant to see the increase in fuel prices. Currently, a liter of gasoline in the United States costs on average about 28.40 crowns; from the Czech point of view, the price is very low, however, it is very expensive by American standards. The cars there have much higher fuel consumption and Americans drive more overall.
The increase in the budget includes humanitarian aid, financial aid and also money for new weapon systems, so-called defense equipment. “It should be some compensation for the failed delivery of the Polish MiGs. It should most likely be a weapon system that could help the Ukrainian army cope with the air superiority now available to the Russian Air Force on Ukrainian territory,” says Miřejovský.
Russian side punishment by YouTube
With immediate effect, YouTube has globally blocked all channels linked to Russian state media.
The internet platform justified the blocking with rules that prohibit content that denies or minimizes sufficiently substantiated information about acts of violence. YouTube is owned by the American company Alphabet Group.
Earlier this month, YouTube blocked channels linked to Russian TV RT and Sputnik in Europe due to the situation in Ukraine.
Putin: The Soviet Union has always existed under sanctions
During a meeting with self-proclaimed Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko on Friday, Russian President Putin said, among other things, that the Russian economy will overcome Western sanctions and that these sanctions will ultimately benefit it. He also spoke of “some positive developments” in negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators, but did not elaborate. According to him, the Russians now negotiate almost every day with the Ukrainians.
Sanctions are an opportunity for the Russian economy, as Putin said, as evidenced by the Soviet Union. “The Soviet Union has always existed under sanctions and has grown and achieved tremendous success.”
Russia also sent a “message” to the United States. Next Monday, it will restrict access to the Internet social network Instagram, which is operated by the American company Meta Platforms. This was announced by the Russian censorship office Roskomnadzor, stating that the decision granted the request of the Russian prosecutor’s office. According to the office, documents containing calls for acts of violence against Russian citizens are circulating on the network.
Avast’s difficult decision
Czech antivirus company Avast has stopped selling its products in Russia and Belarus. At the same time, Ukraine will extend the licenses for free paid products and offer users of free products the possibility of obtaining free paid versions of the software.
“We are appalled by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, which poses a serious threat to the lives of innocent people and attacks almost all forms of human freedom and dignity,” Avast said. Therefore, in Russia and Belarus, the company stopped all marketing and sales activities. “It just came to our knowledge at that time. We have been offering our products in Russia for almost twenty years, and users there are an important part of our global community,” the company added.
“We have employees in Russia and Ukraine, and we are currently working primarily to protect and support them as best we can,” Avast said. “We continue to pay them their full salary and, at their request, we have helped some families who were in at-risk areas to temporarily relocate. We are in constant contact with them and we are very concerned about the real dangers they face,” the company said.
Avast is the second largest antivirus company in the world by sales – after Symantec. Avast’s operating profit last year was around 11.6 billion crowns and its revenue more than 21 billion. The Czech multinational has been present on the market since 1988. The takeover of Avast by the American company NortonLifeLock is in preparation. The vesting date was set for April 4 of this year.
The Orkla group, owner of the Hamé and Vitana brands in the Czech Republic, will cease operating its ZAO Hamé Foods in Russia. It currently employs 367 people, its turnover last year was 19 million euros (about 478 million crowns). Due to the invasion of Russian troops in Ukraine, Pivovary Staropramen, Alza and Heureka, for example, previously announced a break in business relations with Russia.
Hamé Foods ZAO manufactures long-life food products for the Russian market. The company in Russia was founded by Hamé in 2004 and has been part of the Orkla Foods Czech Republic and Slovakia group since last year. “After a thorough decision-making process, we have come to the conclusion that it is undesirable to continue operating in Russia, and therefore we are ceasing our activities. We will strive to take the best possible care of our employees during the tough times,” said Johan Wilhelmsson, CEO of Orkla Foods International.
Orkla has also stopped exports and imports from Russia and Belarus. Last year, the company’s exports to these countries amounted to 11 million euros (about 277 million crowns), imports amounted to about two million euros (about 50 million crowns).