West News Wire: On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West that he could halt shipments and deals, the Kremlin’s sharpest response yet to the sanctions imposed by the US and its allies in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On Tuesday, Putin, Russia’s de facto leader since 1999, signed a wide edict prohibiting the shipment of products and raw materials to people and businesses on a sanctions list that he ordered the government to compile within 10 days.

The legislation, which took effect as soon as it was published, provides Moscow the right to create havoc on markets by halting exports or terminating contracts with entities or individuals it has sanctioned at any time.

The Russian government has 10 days to draw up lists of those it will sanction beyond the Western politicians it has already.

Putin explicitly framed the decree as a response to what he cast as the illegal actions of the United States and its allies meant to deprive “the Russian Federation, citizens of the Russian Federation and Russian legal entities of property rights or the restricting their property rights”.

The decree sets out “retaliatory special economic measures in connection with the unfriendly actions of some foreign states and international organizations”.

Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine prompted the United States and its allies to impose the most severe sanctions in modern history on Russia and Moscow’s business elite, steps Putin casts as a declaration of economic war.

The West’s attempt to economically isolate Russia one of the world’s biggest producers of natural resources has propelled the global economy into uncharted waters with soaring prices and warnings of food shortages.

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Putin, 69, has repeatedly warned that Moscow will respond in kind, though until Tuesday the Kremlin’s toughest economic response had been to cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria and demand a new payment scheme for European buyers of gas.

Tuesday’s decree forbids the export of products and raw materials to people and entities that the Kremlin has sanctioned. It forbids any transactions with such people or entities even under current contracts.

Putin tasked the government with drawing up the list of foreign individuals and companies to be sanctioned, as well as defining “additional criteria” for a number of transactions that could be subject to restrictions.

“This is a framework decree,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, a non-resident scholar at Carnegie Moscow Center and founder of the R.Politik political analysis firm.


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