Which States Have Cut Business Ties With Russian Companies?

In the wake of strong economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. and allied countries following Russia's invasion of Ukraine last week, several U.S. states are now taking steps to sever ties with Russia and Russian companies in a display of solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

President Joe Biden, who had previously warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that economic repercussions would follow if Russia's evolving military conflict with Ukraine escalated, was quick to introduce sanctions at the federal level following the February 24 invasion. Biden condemned the attack, which he said occurred "without provocation, without justification, without necessity."

State lawmakers on both sides of the aisle began taking actions of their own in the days that followed. On February 27, New York Governor Kathy Hochul ordered state agencies to divest public funding from Russia.

"Our state will not permit its own investment activity, whether directly or indirectly, to aid Russia as it commits these human rights violations," Hochul said.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee similarly said on Monday that his state intends to sever ties with Russia and major Russian companies.

"The people of Washington stand with the people of Ukraine," Inslee said during a Monday news conference. "I am directing today all of our state agencies to do an inventory to identify any commercial or other connections with Russian state institutions or significant Russian companies with an eye towards terminating them or canceling them and not letting them go forward."

On Wednesday, Colorado Governor Jared Polis encouraged higher education facilities within his state to dispose of contracts and grants they have with Russia and divest funds from Russian-owned assets. The move followed an announcement Polis made last week about Colorado's intention to review state agency contracts and terminate any found to be with companies backed by the Russian government.

State legislators in New Jersey are considering legislation that would put a stop to investments in Russia, with state Senator Paul Sarlo saying in a Tuesday tweet that he would "ensure that NJ will do our part in a unified bipartisan manner to keep Russia interests out of Jersey."

Additionally, California Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday instructing his state's retirement funds to "restrict Russia's access to nearly $1 trillion of California's global investment portfolio."

And in Indiana, Governor Eric Holcomb said in an executive order issued this week that state officials will review contracts and investments made with Russian-owned companies, and he encouraged businesses in Indiana to similarly "evaluate their future business relationship with Russia."

State lawmakers in Georgia and Pennsylvania have said they are working on legislation that will require state funds to be divested from the Russian government, while Oregon's state treasurer told The Oregonian that his office was also assessing whether any connections existed between state funds and Russian-owned entities. Connecticut state Treasurer Shawn Wooden said Tuesday his office is already in the process of divesting public funds identified as being connected with Russian-owned assets.

In recent days, the governors of Maryland and Iowa announced they are cutting their sister state relationships with local governments in Russia, while Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin in a news release called upon the mayors of Norfolk and Roanoke to similarly cut their partnerships with Russian cities.

Several other governors have also moved to ban sales of Russian products, with some state legislatures in the process of considering legislation that would introduce additional measures against Russia.

Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., said before the invasion that he did not believe the sanctions Biden had warned about would impact Russia's decisions.

"Sanctions will not solve anything regarding Russia," Antonov said last week, adding that Russia has often faced sanctions from Western countries.

Newsweek reached out to the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., for comment about state actions taken against Russia and will update this article with any response.

Russian companies states cutting ties
Several states in the U.S. are taking steps to sever ties with Russia in the wake of its recent invasion of Ukraine. Above, an empty space is seen on a shelf where Russian vodka used to be displayed for sale at a Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority store in Arlington, Virginia, on February 28, 2022. STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images