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Russian metal companies facing difficulties from ‘unfriendly countries’: Kremlin

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Russian metals companies were facing “hostile attitudes” from what Moscow calls unfriendly countries, and that Russia would come up with a plan to combat this.

“We are among world leaders in this industry, and our metallurgists have begun to face hostile attitudes... our companies are experiencing some difficulties,” Peskov said on a conference call with reporters.

Russia’s economy has been battered by Western sanctions designed to force Moscow to withdraw troops it sent into Ukraine on February 24.

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Russia is a major producer of metals including Western countries have imposed sanctions against some wealthy Russian with large shareholdings in metals-producing companies.

But they have so far steered clear of sanctioning the companies themselves in order not to create supply shortages that would push up prices for companies and consumers around the world.

Many banks, shippers and consumers have nevertheless avoided handling Russian metal, forcing Russian firms to find new supply routes.

President Vladimir Putin was due to meet representatives of the metals industry later on Wednesday.

The Kremlin calls its actions in Ukraine a “special military operation” to demilitarize and “de-nazify” the country. Kyiv and its Western allies reject those arguments as a false pretext for an unprovoked attack.

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