Russia Approves List of “Unfriendly Countries”

Amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin-led government on Monday approved a list of countries and territories that commit “unfriendly” actions against Russia, its companies, and its citizens, reported the country’s TASS news agency.

The list includes countries and territories that has imposed or joined the sanctions against Russia after the start of the invasion of Ukraine.

The list includes the United States and Canada, the EU states, the UK (including Jersey, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar), Ukraine, Montenegro, Switzerland, Albania, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, North Macedonia, and also Japan, South Korea, Australia, Micronesia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan (considered a territory of China, but ruled by its own administration since 1949).

The government noted that according to this decree, Russian citizens and companies, the state itself, its regions and municipalities that have foreign exchange obligations to foreign creditors from the list of unfriendly countries will be able to pay them in rubles.

The new temporary procedure applies to payments exceeding 10 mln rubles per month (or a similar amount in foreign currency).

Sanctions akin to declaration of war: Putin

Mounted under crippling sanctions, Russia’s economy has been plunged into crisis. Nations in the West have frozen assets of the central bank held overseas and have severed Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments systems.

Amid the economic crisis, the central bank last week put a temporary halt on payments and barred coupon payments for foreign investors holding ruble-denominated sovereign debt (OFZs). The world now shifts its focus to March 16 when Russia must pay $107 million in coupons across two Eurobonds.

Rattled by the embargoes, Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Saturday, said that any sanctions on the Russian Federation were akin to a declaration of war. “These sanctions that are being imposed are akin to a declaration of war but thank God it has not come to that,” Putin said, speaking to a group of women flight attendants at an Aeroflot training centre near Moscow.

Earlier, he had threatened ‘tough retaliatory measures’ against the UK as it warned that it ‘will not forget’ London’s ‘sanctions hysteria’.

Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova hurled threats at the UK and its allies, as she said, “The sanctions hysteria in which London plays one of the leading, if not the main, roles, leaves us no choice but to take proportionately tough retaliatory measures. London has made a final choice of open confrontation with Russia.”

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