Sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine war turning Russians to business with Syria: deputy FM
Russian businessmen have been emboldened to do business with Syria by Western sanctions placed on Moscow after its invasion of Ukraine, a Russian deputy minister claimed Sunday.
Businessmen wary of doing business with Damascus after the introduction of sanctions by the US via the Caesar Act now feel as though they have nothing to lose, Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov told Russian state media outlet TASS.
The US and other Western powers placed wide-reaching sanctions on Russia after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February last year.
Though the sanctions have dealt a blow, Russia has been able to maintain and even boost ties with non-Western countries, where support for Ukraine has generally been less ardent.
Moscow has long been a key ally of the Syrian regime, and began militarily intervening in its civil war in 2015.
While Russia has been subject to stricter sanctions and more intense scrutiny, Syria has become less isolated on the international stage.
Tensions with Arab states critical of the Assad regime during its brutal crackdown on opposition have been thawing, particularly since a devastating earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on 6 February.
Some 500,000 people have been killed in Syria’s civil war, which began almost twelve years ago.
Many of them have died as a result of Russian and Syrian regime airstrikes.
Despite Bogdanov’s comments, Russian investment has yet to make a big impact on Syria’s battered economy, researcher and economist Yunus al-Karim told The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.