West continues to ramp up sanctions against Russia

A man who fled from a small village near Polohy rests upon his arrival to a reception center for displaced people in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, May 8, 2022. (FRANCISCO SECO / AP)

WASHINGTON – The United States and its Western allies on Sunday announced new sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis, a move that aims to further cripple Moscow's economy but poses severe challenges for global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Group of Seven (G7) said Sunday that the bloc will phase out or ban the import of Russian oil following a video conference.

According to its statement, the group will carry out the oil ban over a period of time in order to find alternative supplies. It will also take further actions against Russian banks, and continue sanctions against additional individuals.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attended the G7 meeting, during which he asked the Western countries to provide more weapons and financial support for Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attended the G7 meeting, during which he asked the Western countries to provide more weapons and financial support for Ukraine.

Zelensky said Ukraine is interested in getting the M142 high mobility artillery rocket system and M270 multiple launch rocket system from the G7 countries, the presidential press service reported.

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Ukraine, he said, needs up to $7 billion per month during the conflict with Russia, and would need about 600 billion dollars for the post-conflict recovery.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Kiev early Sunday and attended the meeting together with Zelensky.

Besides its pledge to G7, the United States on Sunday announced new sanctions targeting Russian state media and the provision of US accounting and consulting services to Russia.

According to a fact sheet issued by the White House, the new sanctions package will target Russia's three major state-controlled media and prohibit US persons from providing accounting, trust and corporate formation, and management consulting services to any person in Russia.

Briefing reporters on the sanctions package earlier in the day, a senior administration official said the ban does not expand to legal services for now, but the administration is constantly "reevaluating" the sanctions and could broaden them.

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The United States has already moved to ban imports of Russian energy, including oil, natural gas and coal. It will also dial up its export control measures, prohibiting US exports of industrial products like engines and bulldozers to Russia, according to the fact sheet.

Over the past months, the Western countries have imposed severe sanctions on Russia in such fields as trade, economy, finance, technology, sports and culture, which has provoked much debate and potentially slowed the recovery of the world economy from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inflation in many countries surged to record highs following soaring global energy prices. Countries in Africa and the Middle East that rely on imports of foodstuffs and fertilizers from Russia and Belarus are facing worsening food insecurity.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said its World Economic Outlook report in April that increasing global energy prices have affected the euro area economy.

The shockwaves of the conflict hurt countries like Italy and Germany more than other European nations because they had "relatively large manufacturing sectors and greater dependence on energy imports from Russia," said the report.

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In the report, the agency slashed global growth forecast for 2022 to 3.6 percent amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, 0.8 percentage point lower than the January projection.

The Ukraine crisis unfolds while the global economy is "on a mending path" but has not yet fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, it said, noting that global economic prospects have worsened "significantly" since the forecast in January.