By Guy Faulconbridge
Russian President Vladimir Putin put the West on notice on Tuesday that he could terminate exports and deals, the Kremlin’s toughest response yet to the sanctions burden imposed by the United States and allies over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Putin, Russia’s paramount leader since 1999, signed a broad decree on Tuesday which forbade the export of products and raw materials to people and entities on a sanctions list that he instructed the government to draw up within 10 days.
The decree, which came into force with its publication, gives Moscow the power to sow chaos across markets as it could at any moment halt exports or tear up contracts with an entity or individual it has sanctioned.
The Russian government has 10 days to draw up lists of those it will sanction beyond the Western politicians it has already.
Putin explicitly framed the decree as a response to what he cast as the illegal actions of the United States and its allies meant to deprive “the Russian Federation, citizens of the Russian Federation and Russian legal entities of property rights or the restricting their property rights”.
The decree sets out “retaliatory special economic measures in connection with the unfriendly actions of some foreign states and international organizations”.
Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine prompted the United States and its allies to impose the most severe sanctions in modern history on Russia and Moscow’s business elite, steps Putin casts as a declaration of economic war.
The West’s attempt to economically isolate Russia – one of the world’s biggest producers of natural resources – has propelled the global economy into uncharted waters with soaring prices and warnings of food shortages.