Inslee formalizes directive seeking to cut ties with Russia

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday signed a formal directive he announced earlier in the week for state agencies to identify any potential contracts or investments with Russian state institutions or significant companies with the intention of ultimately severing those ties.

"We have all been inspired by the people of Ukraine," Inslee said during a news conference. "We know that there are hard days ahead and Washington state wants to do our part to support them."

Inslee said that state agencies will have to present an initial summary to his office by March 18. Agencies won’t be able to take action to end contracts without approval from the governor’s office.

Additionally, the Washington State Investment Board is taking action to eliminate any holdings, Inslee said.

The investment board posted on its website that the relevant estimated equity fund exposure with Russia is about $100 million or less than 0.10% of total assets.

"Our investment exposure to Russian companies is extremely limited due to our longstanding skepticism toward Russia as an investment market," the statement reads. "Our total investment exposure to Russia is small, and we are not invested directly in any Russian banks, companies or real estate.

WA state psychologists to train volunteers in Poland who in turn will support Ukrainian refugees

A week after Russia’s full-scale invasion, the United Nations reports a million refugees have fled Ukraine.

The board announced it would be taking additional steps, including restricting investment managers from purchasing or repurchasing Russia investments when the markets reopen.

Inslee also called on the Biden administration to end Russian oil imports, and said he would be supportive of the state’s refineries potentially increasing production to help offset lost supply.

"Stop buying oil from Russia," he said. "It is imperative to the national security of the United States and the cause of democracy."

Inslee said that he is also contemplating ways to help with humanitarian aid to Ukraine, including working with airlines on ways to deliver supplies to Ukrainian refugees.

Inslee is one of numerous U.S. governors and lawmakers seeking to add to the financial squeeze on Russia over its war against Ukraine. Some states were taking steps this week to pull state pension and treasury funds out of investments in Russian-held entities or Russian companies supporting the war.

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