Toyota suspends operations at Russia plant as Japan cements sanctions

Finance minister says Japan ‘will firmly implement sanctions’ against Russia as 4 more banks punished over Ukraine

Global automaker Toyota Motor Corp. announced Thursday a halt in its production operations in Russia while Japanese government said it will freeze assets held by four more Russian banks.

Toyota said the decision to suspend operations at its St. Petersburg plant from Friday is “due to supply chain disruptions.”

“The operations at the St. Petersburg plant will be stopped until further notice,” Toyota said, adding that its manufacturing and sales operations “in the rest of Europe will not be affected.”

It also said: “We are also monitoring global developments and will make necessary decisions as required.”

Since it began its operations in 2007, Toyota’s St. Petersburg plant can produce 100,000 vehicles every year. The Japanese automaker has its sales base in Moscow.

Japan’s Honda Motor Co. also suspended shipments of vehicles and motor bikes to Russia, Tokyo -based Kyodo News reported.

Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said Thursday the government will freeze assets held by four more Russian banks.

Tokyo’s move came after the EU decided to exclude seven Russian banks from the SWIFT international money transfer system.

“Japan supports the EU’s decision and will firmly implement (sanctions) with other Group of Seven members,” Suzuki said.

The anti-Russia measures taken by Japan are expected to come into effect by April 2.

Escalation of measures against Moscow came as the Russia-Ukraine war entered its second week on Thursday.

Russia’s war on Ukraine has been met with international outrage, with the EU, US and UK, among others, implementing tough financial sanctions on Moscow.

Many countries are also supplying Ukraine with weapons and have shut their airspace to Russian airlines and banned Russian state-run media.

Russia and Ukraine are set for a second round of peace talks on Thursday. The first round was held on Monday.

At least 227 civilians have been killed and 525 injured since the start of Russia’s war on Ukraine, according to the UN’s human rights body.

Japan joined its Western allies and imposed sanctions on Russia and promised to accept people fleeing the war in Ukraine.


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