Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy today (Monday 7 March) called for an escalation in trade sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, including a boycott of Russian exports and a halt of exports to Russia, Reuters reports.
"If [Russia does] not adhere to civilised rules, then they should not receive goods and services from civilisation - let the war feed them," he said.
Reuters said that Zelenskiy was in effect calling for an international trade embargo on Russia.
Caution on oil ban
While US officials said today that “every option is being considered,” Zelenskiy’s request for a Russian oil exports boycott has been rejected by Germany.
This is despite the US secretary of state Antony Blinken at the weekend saying Washington was in “very active discussions” with European countries about banning Russian oil imports.
UK prime minister Boris Johnson said he agreed with Blinken on the need to find alternative sources of oil to that from Russia which would take time. Prime minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, speaking at a Downing Street press conference today, highlighted the dependency of EU countries on Russian oil and gas, saying a ban would have “enormous ramifications”.
EU membership step
Meanwhile the FT reports that today the EU took the first step towards progressing applications by Ukraine, as well as Georgia and Moldova, to membership of the 27-state bloc.
The European Commission has been asked to draft an opinion on the applications, which would take years to move towards full membership of the EU. An EU diplomat is quoted as describing the step as “symbolic”.
Recap: more companies pulling out of Russia
In the past three days yet more brands and services announced their withdrawal from the Russian market, denting further what is a comparatively high standard of living enjoyed by local consumers in recent years.
KPMG, PWC and EY are stopping operations in Russia and Belarus.
Accenture, McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company, and Grant Thornton have also withdrawn from Russia.
Zara has closed 500 Russian stores and has stopped online trading.
Burberry has become the latest luxury brand to temporarily shut its stores in Russia after similar moves in recent days by Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Kering, Chanel and Prada.
FedEx said it was temporarily suspending all services in Russia and Belarus after previously halting shipments to Russia and Ukraine.