GT Voice: Including Chinese, Indian firms in Russia sanctions unreasonable
Published: Feb 25, 2024 10:30 PM
Ilustration: Chen Xia/GT

Ilustration: Chen Xia/GT

At the second anniversary of the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, it is both disheartening and worrying for the global economy to witness the West once more intensifying sanctions against Russia and even extending them to third countries, rather than reflecting on and acknowledging the past mistakes and economic perils associated with the indiscriminate use of sanctions. 

The EU last week agreed on a new package of sanctions against Russia that for the first time targets Chinese and Indian companies accused of "supporting Moscow's war efforts," the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

The measures of the EU, which will be its 13th package of sanctions imposed in response to Russia's military operation against Ukraine, were followed by the UK and the US. Britain announced a new package of sanctions against Russia that includes three electronics companies in China, Reuters reported on Friday.

Then, the Biden administration announced on Friday more than 500 new sanctions against targets in Russia, which reportedly include measures against Russia's main card payment system, financial and military institutions and entities outside of Russia.

It may be disappointing for the US and its European allies to find that financial and trade restrictions have failed to lead to the collapse of the Russian economy as anticipated. 

Two years after the outbreak of the conflict, Russia's economy is even forecast to grow more rapidly this year than previously expected, surpassing that of the US, Germany, France and the UK. Last month, the IMF raised Russia's GDP growth to 2.6 percent for 2024, with that of the US estimated to reach 2.1 percent.

If anything, such economic prospects should have made it clear that sanctions do not solve any of the problems since the conflict started, but have brought more serious economic consequences. The failure of the sanctions approach is not a reason for the West to escalate sanctions or include companies from third countries as targets. Such actions are unreasonable and ignorant and will not help when it comes to achieving their goals of containing Russia's military or economic strength.

When it comes to the Ukraine crisis, China's position has always been consistent. China is not a party directly involved, and it did not choose to be a bystander or add fuel to the fire. China will continue to play a constructive role in bringing an early end to the conflict and restoring peace in Ukraine. 

There is nothing to criticize regarding the pursuit of peace, and it is believed that this thinking is shared by many other emerging countries.

Fundamentally speaking, Western sanctions against Russia are actually illegal and unilateral actions, which have not been approved by the UN. The US and its European allies, regardless of how powerful they are, do not represent the entire international community. It makes no sense for them to escalate sanctions and exert pressure on other countries by targeting normal economic exchanges between Russia and other countries.

What Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said recently on the sidelines of the Munich conference may just show the view of all those who have not participated in Western sanctions against Russia. 

Jaishankar said, "If I am smart enough to have multiple options, you should be admiring me." He said that India should not be criticized for having multiple options and reaffirmed its stand and commitment to buying Russian oil.

The world is not ruled by the US and its European allies only. Their goal of containing Russia is their own business, and they have no right to demand other countries sacrifice their development opportunities to serve Western strategies. When it comes to how to deal with Russia, emerging economies should have the right to consider and choose from their own interests.

What has happened over the past two years has proved that unilateral sanctions and extreme pressure have not only done great harm to the global economy, but have also disrupted the international order the West has been trying to maintain. Eventually, it is the West itself that pays the price of sowing the seeds of disorder in its own energy sector and supply chains. 

Thus, it is advised that the West reflect on the consequences of sanctions and seek to resolve the dilemma so as to avoid further complicating the global political and economic situation with "long-arm jurisdiction" means.