Russian invasion of Ukraine: US to ban Russian diamond, vodka and seafood imports

US President Joe Biden has announced a ban on imports of Russian diamonds, seafood and vodka in the latest response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Biden said Western allies plan to revoke Russia’s status as an equal trade partner, paving the way for further economic punishment.

The moves comes after several sanctions on Russia’s banking, oil and oligarchs that have isolated Russia economically since the invasion.

The Russian Ruble has collapsed, while global firms rush to exit the country.

Biden said the latest steps to ban Russian vodka and seafood will be “another crushing blow to the Russian economy”.

Under international rules, designating a country a “most favoured nation” provides reciprocal trade privileges such as lower tariffs, taxes imposed at the border.

The US said it’s move to strip Russia of its trade status is being carried out in conjunction with the European Union and other advanced economies, including Canada and Japan.

“We remain resolved to isolate Russia further from our economies and the international financial system,” the leaders of the G7, a group of advanced economies that includes the UK, said in a statement. The US Congress has already declared itself in favour of the move.

Biden also added that Western allies planned to cut Russia off from accessing finance from international organisations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Biden said he was also barring US exports of luxury goods to Russia, trade worth about $550m per year, and would further sanction oligarchs and their families.

The US ban on key Russian imports will deny Putin more than $1bn in revenue, the White House said.

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