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Ukraine: multinationals join the economic response | War in Ukraine

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Private services of MSC and Maersk, Russia, 11and world economy, is now deprived of most of its shipping capacity to export and import goods, materials and raw materials.

The two carriers specify that they will however continue to deliver essential goods, medical, food and humanitarian equipment. In the afternoon, the French shipowner CMA CGM announced similar measures.

In London, the British government on Tuesday closed all ports in the country to boats flying the Russian flag or belonging to Russian interests. In Ottawa, the Canadian government announced that it too would close Canadian ports and waters to Russian vessels, including fishing vessels.

On Monday, European energy giants BP and Shell marked the occasion by announcing their intention to withdraw their activities from Russia and to divest themselves of tens of billions of dollars of oil and gas assets in Russia.

TotalEnergies stays in Russia

The Norwegian oil company Equinor will also sell its stakes in Russian joint ventures. The French group TotalEnergies, for its part, declared that it remained in Russia, but that it would not develop new projects there. The American Exxon Mobil has also started to lay off American employees who work in its oil and gas production on the island of Sakhalin, in the Russian Far East.

A man, a pen in his mouth, consults the stock market prices.

Many investors and fund managers have suspended their activities in Russian markets to put pressure on Moscow.

Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

However, it is not only the energy and industrial companies that are mobilizing in this economic response to the expansionist aims of Moscow in Ukraine.

Many banks and even the American payment card companies Visa and Mastercard have excluded multiple Russian financial institutions from their network or terminated their partnership with Russian companies.

Financial offensive

Faced with one of the biggest economic outcry we have seen in Europe for decades, Russian carriers have been banned from the airspace of the European Union and many other countries while the majority of banks Russians have been excluded from the international information exchange system SWIFT. This is in addition to the freezing of approximately 630 billion US dollars belonging to the reserve of the Russian Central Bank.

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On Tuesday, the 27 member states of the European Union agreed to exclude Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system. EU countries have also approved a ban on Europeans participating in projects co-financed by the Russian sovereign wealth fund RDIF. These measures are due to come into force on Wednesday.

The major European asset management companies, including the British abrdn and Man Group, the Swiss Pictet and the French Carmignac, have also distanced themselves from the Russian markets and the Moscow Stock Exchange, which have suffered historic declines for a week.

Despite repeated efforts by the Kremlin to prop up its national currency, the value of the ruble yesterday fell more than 30% as the Russian Central Bank raised its key rate by 20%.

Major fund managers Liontrust, Swedbank, JPMorgan Asset Management and Danske Invest have all announced they have suspended fund activity involving Russian holdings indefinitely.

car manufacturers

Every day, more companies shocked by Ukraine’s invasion are heeding the call of Western countries urging a massive economic response to this historic crisis in Europe.

Airlines continue to suspend flights to and from Russia, while major automakers including Volvo and General Motors halt exports to Russia. Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors may also suspend sales of its cars there, the Jiji news agency reported on Tuesday. Ford, which has a 50% stake in three Russian factories, has not yet announced its intentions.

The global sports equipment giant Adidas also joined the movement by announcing on Tuesday the suspension of its partnership with the Russian Football Federation [soccer].

On the web and social networks

A TV set from the RT channel.

Commissioned in 2005 as Russia Today, RT, funded by the Russian state, the channel is regularly accused in the West of contributing to disinformation.

Photo: AFP / Yuri Kadobnov URI KADOBNOV

The economic war the West has engaged in to bring the Russian economy to its knees and force President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his troops from Ukraine is also being waged on the technological terrain.

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The multinational Meta, parent company of Facebook, has decided to restrict access to Russian state media Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik to its platforms in the European Union. The YouTube giant is also blocking the two Russian agencies in Europe by targeting the channels linked to them.

Twitter and Microsoft also took steps on Monday to limit the dissemination of information from news outlets affiliated with the Russian government.

The member countries of the EU have for their part authorized the broadcasting on their respective territory of the Russian state media RT and Sputnik.

From a more symbolic point of view, several major media have decided to use only the spelling Kyiv to designate the Ukrainian capital, because the word Kyiv derives from the Russian language and not from the Ukrainian language. Several American channels including CNN, as well as the BBC, the French daily Release and the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten have already adopted this change.

Finally, the American giant Apple has announced that it is ceasing to sell its products in Russia, after having stopped exports to this country last week and having suspended its Apple Pay payment solution there.

Even in cinemas

Western pressures are felt even in Russian cinemas, where Warner Bros withdraws the film from screens The Batman which was due out this week, following Disney’s decision to suspend theatrical release of its films in Russia. Paramount did the same with movies The Lost City and Sonic The Hedgehog 2.

Sony Pictures, a subsidiary of the Japanese group Sony, for its part announced that it was suspending the release of its films in theaters in Russia, including that of Morbius, his new blockbuster. Sony Pictures justified its decision in a press release by the continuing military action in Ukraine, the resulting uncertainty and the humanitarian crisis unleashed in that region.

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