- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

Norway’s Oil Fund: Impossible to Divest From Russia at the Moment

© Sputnik / Ilya Pitalev / Go to the mediabankMoscow Exchange
Moscow Exchange - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.03.2022
The Moscow Exchange been closed for nearly three weeks amid rounds of massive Western sanctions against Russia’s financial system aimed to isolate the country. However, as a side effect, it also prevents countries like Norway from divesting from Russia, as planned.
Norway's gigantic Oil Fund is required to divest its holdings in Russia, but that is impossible at the moment, the country's central bank has stated in a letter to the Finance Ministry.
In line with the Ministry’s decision, Norges Bank, which is tasked with managing the Oil Fund, has had to sell all of its assets and investments in Russia. However, due to closed markets and extensive sanctions, it is not possible to start the sale at the current moment, Norges Bank explained in the letter.
The Oil Fund plans to notify the Ministry when the markets return to a more usual dynamic.
“We will then also make a more detailed recommendation on the implementation of the sale based on current sanctions and the Fund’s interests in general. The sale will have to take place over time,” it is further stated.
In late February, Norway froze the Oil Fund’s investments in Russia in response to Russia's special operation in Ukraine, which it claimed to be an invasion, despite Moscow repeatedly stressing it has no occupation plans.
On 28 February, the Finance Ministry requested that Norges Bank come up with a plan to divest from the Russian market. The deadline expired on Tuesday, but Norges Bank has asked for more time.
At the end of 2021, the value of the Oil Fund’s equity investments in Russia totalled some NOK 27 billion ($3 billion), Norges Bank stated.
Earlier this week, the Oil Fund said it could lose up to 40 percent of its value in a worst-case scenario with economic stagflation, that is, stagnation combined with high inflation. According to its recent annual report, the total value of the fund could fall by as much as NOK 5,000 billion ($561 billion).
Chief economist Kjersti Haugland at finance group DNB said that this scenario isn't completely far-fetched. According to her, such a course of events may also include a stop in gas supplies from Russia, the dominant source of European energy, as a result of the Ukrainian conflict, and continent-wide shortages.
At over $1.3 trillion in assets, the Oil Fund is the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. It was established to invest the surplus revenues of the Norwegian petroleum sector.
Since the start of Russia's special operation, aimed to "demilitarise and de-Nazify" Ukraine and protect the people's republics of Donbass, the US and its European allies have unleashed crippling sanctions against all spheres of the Russian economy, ranging from energy and technologies to consumer goods. Western companies have been leaving the Russian market in droves, prompting warnings in the Russian parliament that their property may be nationalised.
The Moscow Exchange hasn’t opened since 25 February, the day after the start of the operation, as the West slapped punishing sanctions on Russia’s financial system in a bid to isolate the country.
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