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Gov. Cooper announces NC sanctions in response to Russian invasion of Ukraine

Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer
TNS via Getty Images

On Monday, Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order that directs state government agencies and departments to review all existing contracts and operations and take all reasonable steps to terminate any agreements or operations that directly benefit Russian entities.

Cooper signed the order in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a news release from the governor's office stated.

“The invasion of Ukraine is an attack on a free people. This order sends a strong message and helps ensure no public dollars or operations from North Carolina will benefit Russia and its unjustified aggression,” stated Cooper. “Our state stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they fight courageously against a tyrant to defend their country, their democracy and their freedom.”

North Carolina has joined other U.S. states that have moved to boycott business dealings with Russia. According to NPR, governors of New Hampshire and Utah have ordered Russian-produced vodka removed from state-ran liquor stores. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has halted the purchase and sale of vodka made by Russian Standard, a Russian-owned maker that sells its liquor under two names in the state.

According to the release, Russian Standard is one of the three Russian vodka brands that would be subject to Cooper's order based on available information from the North Carolina ABC Commission. Hammer & Sickle and Beluga are the other two.

In Canada, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, one of the world's largest liquor buyers, said it's removing all products made in Russia from its 679 stores, the NPR report states.

However, these U.S. vodka boycotts are seen largely as being more symbolic due to the fact that the U.S. consumes less than 1% of Russian-made vodka, according to the NPR report.

The order covers all state government agencies and departments over which Cooper has executive authority, as well as, state entities for which he appoints the chief executive or a majority of the board members. Cooper strongly encouraged other state entities and local governments to adopt similar policies, including divesting from Russian assets to ensure that public dollars and operations do not benefit Russia and avoiding new contracts with Russian entities.

According to the release, this order includes, but is not limited to:

  • Alcohol Sales: The North Carolina ABC Commission is directed to review its list of approved products for any produced by Russian entities and to suspend the approval of such products as quickly as practicable. 
  • Purchase & Contract: The Department of Administration, Division of Purchase & Contract is directed to terminate any such contracts with Russian entities as quickly as practicable if they are identified.
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