A Democratic state lawmaker on Thursday proposed legislation designed to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine by having New York sever economic ties with the country.
The proposal, from state Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, would block the awarding of state contracts to any company that is conducting business with Russia. At the same time, New York state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office would be authorized to begin divesting the state's pension fund from companies that have business interests in Russia.
“Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine demands the strongest possible response,” Reichlin-Melnick said. “New York State does not invest in or support companies that do business in North Korea or Iran, and Vladimir Putin’s reckless actions have now put Russia in the company of these rogue nations. In the 1980s, the United States and other democracies boycotted and divested from South Africa to pressure them to end their racist apartheid system. Now we must wield similar economic pressure to ensure Russia faces serious consequences for this devastating attack on a peaceful nation in violation of international law.”
The proposal was made as international sanctions are being issued following the attack. President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday announced the U.S. sanctions would include actions against Russian banks and make Putin a "pariah" on the international stage.