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Can Export Ban Force Russia to End Ukraine War?

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

Russia and the West have been at odds over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine for a number of years. By imposing economic sanctions on Russia, the United States and its allies have attempted to put pressure on Moscow to stop supporting the separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. However, the intended result of these sanctions has not materialised, and some people are now advocating for a change of course.

According to recent press reports, the US and a number of Western allies are still considering a comprehensive export prohibition to Russia. Members of the Group of Seven (G7) are debating this plan in advance of an international summit in May. Instead of blacklisting Russian goods, services, and people, the objective is to forbid all business with Moscow is not explicitly exempted from Western sanctions.

It is believed that this export ban will ultimately put enough pressure on Russia to get it to quit supporting the separatists in Ukraine. There are several issues that need to be handled before the notion can be put into action. For instance, the prohibition must be accepted by all EU member states in order for the bloc to sign on. Another potential impact of the ban could be on a grain export pact Turkey and the UN made with Russia and Ukraine last year.

Even if these challenges can be solved, it's unclear if an export ban will actually be successful in accomplishing its declared objective. Moscow's war machine in Ukraine has not yet been stopped by the US-led economic war on Russia. Since Washington announced it would isolate Moscow through sanctions, $66 billion in commodities have gone to Russia from G7 members, according to Trade Data Monitor.

This shows that Western sanctions have not been able to significantly harm Russia's economy. International assistance organisations contend that restrictions generally stifle the trade in civilian commodities and that waivers are useless. This indicates that the effects on the Russian economy could still occur even if food and medicine are spared from the export prohibition.

It is obvious that a new strategy is required given the failure of US-led sanctions against Russia thus far. One option is for the US and its allies to speak with Russia directly in order to put an end to the fighting in Ukraine. This can entail negotiating a cease-fire as well as a political agreement that takes into account the concerns of all sides.

Direct communication with Russia may not be popular in some quarters, but it's crucial to understand that sanctions by themselves have failed. The US and its allies may show they are willing to use a more constructive strategy to end the situation in Ukraine by starting a dialogue. This may contribute to lowering tensions between the West and Russia and promote a more peaceful world.


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