'Stop trading with Russia' - Finance and Economy Secretary statement on Ukraine conflict

Published: 3 March 2022

Finance and Economy Secretary Kate Forbes has asked companies to take “economic action” by reviewing operations for links and connections to Russia and severing them.

In an open letter to the business community, Ms Forbes has outlined that the Scottish Government and its economic agencies - including SOSE - will use all available powers not to support trade and investment activity with Russia. Support and advice will be offered to businesses as they adapt to removing links with Russia.

Ms Forbes

"We have all watched on in horror at the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia. This was an unprovoked and wholly unnecessary attack by the Putin regime on a peaceful, democratic nation that not only breaks international law, but is an affront to our values and decency.   

"We have seen a wave of revulsion across the world with an overwhelming number of nations coming out in opposition to the invasion of Ukraine. The Scottish Government has made clear it stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian government and its people. We all have a moral duty right now to consider what else we can do to try to stop Putin’s aggression, including via economic action.

"Nations across the world have rightly imposed severe economic sanctions against the Putin regime and its close associates. We fully support the sanctions the UK government has imposed and will do all we can to encourage and enable their strict enforcement. For any sanctions to be meaningful they will also have an impact on the countries and economies that are imposing them. That will be true here, as it will be across the rest of the UK, EU and US, however any price paid here is significantly less than that being paid by the people of Ukraine. 

"We know that everyone wants to do the right thing here. Many businesses, sporting and cultural organisations have shown commendable corporate values and leadership, in divesting their interests in Russia, their trading relationships with Russian entities and their participation in lucrative Russian contracts.

"We support these decisions and would encourage all Scottish businesses to follow their example. Beyond direct investments, reviewing operations for links and connections to Russia - however indirect - and then severing them is the right decision.

"I welcome the effort being undertaken right now by businesses across Scotland to do exactly that, and encourage them to continue to conduct this work at pace, and with due regard for the safety of any employees or individuals you may work with.

"The Scottish Government and its economic agencies will use all available powers not to support trade and investment activity with Russia. Businesses will be supported as they adapt to remove links with Russia, and should contact our economic agencies for more advice and support in this regard. 

"We have all been inspired by the spirit and bravery of the people of Ukraine, led by President Zelenskyy in their fight for freedom. Let’s do all that we can to support them and weaken the Putin regime’s war effort."

Advice available for businesses and traders

Any businesses or traders with questions relating to trading with Ukraine or Russia should visit Export Support Service website or call their helpline on 0300 303 8955.  The helpline is currently open Monday to Friday, from 8am to 6pm.