The US and UK restrict the trade of Russian-origin metals

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 11, 2024. (Alexei Babushkin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. and U.K. will begin restricting the trade of new Russian-origin metals — including aluminum, copper and nickel — on global metal exchanges and in derivatives trading.

The announcement is meant to follow up on the Group of Seven nations' commitment in February “to reduce Russia’s revenues from metals” as its invasion into Ukraine has dragged on for more than two years.

Russia is a key exporter of metals like aluminum, steel and titanium — but British and American officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the announcement, said the economic impact from the ban would be negligible for consumers and producers.

The intent is to limit Russia's revenues from metals, they say, as metals have earned the nation $40 billion in the past two years, according to British officials.

“Our new prohibitions on key metals, in coordination with our partners in the United Kingdom, will continue to target the revenue Russia can earn to continue its brutal war against Ukraine,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in a news release.

“By taking this action in a targeted and responsible manner, we will reduce Russia’s earnings while protecting our partners and allies from unwanted spillover effects," she said.

The officials said new Russian metals will not be allowed to be traded on the exchanges, including the London Metal Exchange and Chicago Mercantile Exchange. However, metals produced before midnight Saturday in London will be permitted.

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. and EU have levied sanctions on Russia’s biggest banks and its elite, frozen the assets of the country’s Central Bank located outside the country and excluded its financial institutions from the SWIFT bank messaging system.

The U.S. and U.K. have also previously sanctioned Russian gold, gas and diamonds.

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