[Russian Commodities] Bust Sanction Busters – by Diane Francis (Substack – May 2, 2024)


Russia’s economy has been sanctioned, punished, and distorted as a result of its war. But loopholes and workarounds have been devised to avoid sanctions, fossil fuel bans, and the G7 oil price cap. The West must escalate its economic war against Moscow by increasing restrictions and by punishing sanctions-busters.

In December, Washington announced sanctions on foreign banks facilitating transactions with Russia — a measure aimed at China, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and India — which is starting to work. But Ukraine’s allies must crack down on illegal trade by China and confiscate the $300 billion of Russian central bank assets that were frozen after the 2022 invasion.

Last week, Congress allocated military aid to Ukraine and at the same time passed a REPO Act authorizing the confiscation of these assets in the United States. But Europe still squabbles. “Much public attention has rightly been focused on wavering House GOP support for military aid for Ukraine (now approved), but the economic pressure campaign is also crucial leverage against Putin, and we have to step up our game,” recently wrote sanctions advocates, Yale Professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and his research director Steven Tian.

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