Despite the political posturing from the West and in particular, the United States under the Biden administration to “punish” Russian President Vladimir Putin with sanctions, over $6 billion worth of goods from Russia has entered the US since the sanctions began when Russia invaded Ukraine.
According to an investigation by the Associated Press, it has been uncovered that over 3,600 Russian shipments have reached American ports since the invasion began in February – over one billion dollars’ worth of trade every month.
The drop off in trade is significant, however, falling by nearly 50 percent compared to February 2021 but what the numbers do show is that trade between Russia and the United States continues despite “sanctions.”
The bulk of the shipments were made up of raw materials and other commodities that are hard to source outside of the Russian market. One Nevada-based wood supplier, who sells to some major furniture manufacturers, said he had to put up a huge bond, totaling $800,000 to allow him to continue importing Russian wood like Baltic birch.
The wood dealer, Ronald Liberatori said, “There’s no alternative source,” adding, “We’re so d—-d upset with what Biden has done, this is a government versus government issue.”
Head of the Department of State’s Office of Sanctions Coordination Ambassador Jim O’Brien claimed that it was never expected that trade with Russia would stop completely but rather certain sanctions were made to have certain outcomes – without stopping global trade.
“When we impose sanctions, it could disrupt global trade,” said O’Brien. “So, our job is to think about which sanctions deliver the most impact while also allowing global trade to work.”
Nearly 35 percent of all those Russian shipments had raw materials and that included metals such as aluminum, titanium, and iron powder – Russia being one of the leading exporters of these metals and cutting Russia out completely would have added to the already bulging inflation.
Morgan Stanley economist Jacob Nell also added that cutting off Russian imports of metals and other materials would have been a lose-lose situation.
“The basic idea with sanctions is that you’re trying to act in a way that causes more pain to the other side and less pain to yourself,” he said.
Fertilizer is also being encouraged by the Biden administration, who want shipments due to the food crisis that the world is already facing right now and since the invasion of Ukraine, over 109 shipments of Russian fertilizer have reached American soil.
Other shipments included 41 shipments of ammunition which equates to around 4,000 tons of Russian-made bullets – 341 shipments of food – 1,179 shipments of rubber – 67 shipments of vehicle parts – and 47 shipments of radioactive materials.
Sanctions imposed on Russia, have ultimately only hurt the US and the other European nations that also imposed them. Inflation is on a runaway train and Europe is about to face one of the coldest winters in years as oil and gas supplies dwindle.