Russia’s Wildberries Says Ukraine Sanctions Will Hurt Entrepreneurs, Not Company

Russia’s Wildberries Says Ukraine Sanctions Will Hurt Entrepreneurs, Not Company

A Wildberries Truck. Shutterstock.

Russian online retailer Wildberries said on Tuesday it expected no negative impact from sanctions Ukraine had imposed on the company last week but said the move would harm Ukrainian entrepreneurs using its platform.

Privately-owned Wildberries, Russia’s e-commerce market leader, offers about 4 million products from 40,000 brands and reported full-year transaction volumes of 437.2 billion roubles ($6 billion) in 2020. It said sales in Ukraine accounted for just 0.01 percent of current turnover.

On Friday, Ukraine imposed sanctions on Wildberries and its divisions in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and other countries, a ruling that freezes the company’s assets for three years, bans capital withdrawal, business contacts and exchange of technologies, and also includes other restrictions.

Ukrainian Minister of Culture Oleksandr Tkachenko said Wildberries had been banned because it had sold Russian propaganda and uniforms of Russian soldiers on its platform.

“This is another step in the struggle to cleanse Ukraine’s information space of Russian expansion,” he wrote on his Telegram channel on Saturday.

Wildberries said in a statement it sold goods that other foreign players also sold in Ukraine. It accused Kyiv of double standards and discrimination against its business.

“Wildberries does not expect any negative impact on the company. The sanctions may harm only Ukrainian entrepreneurs and consumers, who will be deprived of a wide range of goods at affordable prices,” it said, adding that it did not ship goods via Ukraine.

Kyiv also imposed sanctions on four members of Wildberries’ senior management team, including co-founder and Chief Executive Tatyana Bakalchuk, Russia’s wealthiest woman in 2020 according to Forbes magazine.

Ukraine has previously sanctioned many Russian companies and citizens. Relations between Kyiv and Moscow plummeted after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and backed a pro-Russian separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine.

By Olga Popova and Alexander Marrow; Editors: Katya Golubkova and Edmund Blair

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