Armenian Banks tighten export controls on Russia

19 June 2023, Mo

The head of Armenia’s Central Bank has declined to deny the accuracy of reports in the Russian press that a number of Armenian banks have started to block Russian companies from making payments for electronics imports.

“The Central Bank directs banks to work in line with international best practices,” Martin Galstyan told reporters at a press conference in Yerevan Tuesday. “Banks manage their own risks. Actions aimed at managing their risks may lead them to break off relations with certain counterparties.”

Also watch: US blacklists Armenian chemical importer for Russia ties

Citing unnamed sources, the Russian business paper Kommersant reported last week that some banks in Armenia, Hong Kong, and Kazakhstan had started to block Russian firms from making payments for imported servers, microchips, telecoms equipment, and other electronics.

The head of a Russian logistics company told Kommersant that Russia may face a shortage of critical electronics “within six months or a year” if Armenian and other foreign banks continue blocking payments for deliveries of those goods.

However, a second Kommersant source said Russian companies could start listing electronics imports under “alternative” commodity codes in their customs declarations in order to continue buying blacklisted products.

Trade between Armenia and Russia, the world’s most sanctioned country, nearly doubled last year to top $5 billion, raising questions about Yerevan’s role re-exporting foreign-made goods to Moscow.

Jim O’Brien, the State Department’s sanctions coordinator, told Politico last week that the United States has singled out Armenia as one of five countries helping Russia bust sanctions. The others are Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

A few months earlier, the U.S. government included Armenia in a list of “transshipment points” used by Russia to evade sanctions. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, the United States has blacklisted two Armenian electronics dealers for allegedly doing business in Russia.

Last month, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan warned that Armenia “cannot afford to be placed under Western sanctions” over its economic ties with Russia.

Add a comment...
No review yet
Write a comment
Մուտքագրեք մեկնաբանություն*