Russia-Ukraine early history and relations
After 70 years of totalitarianism, including the Bolshevik revolution’s civil war, the Great Depression’s famine, the brutal Nazi occupation, the Second World War’s holocaust, and more recent political purges and stagnation, Ukraine declared its independence from the Soviet Union (USSR) in 1991. The Ukrainian Communist Party was little more than a puppet of the Moscow-based government of the Soviet Union, which was a political construct dominated by Russians. Russian, which was the language of science, politics, government, and urban centers, was seen as superior to Ukrainian culture and language. Its political and cultural elites were either eliminated or abducted and sent to Moscow to work for the Soviet government.
At the time of its independence, Ukraine was a traumatized country as a result of its volatile past and had no statecraft traditions on which to base a new, independent state. And despite the dissolution of the political union, it maintained close links with Russia in the areas of energy, trade, and culture. The struggle between Russia and Ukraine to forge a new future for themselves in Europe lies at the heart of the tale of modern-day Ukraine. In this article, we will get to know more about the trade relations between the two countries in detail, with their import-export data.
Economic trade relations between Russia and Ukraine
Following the annexation of Crimea, Ukrainian exports to Russia fell precipitously, from $29 billion in 2011 to just $5 billion in 2021 as per the trade data and export data. Exports to the EU have nearly doubled since 2012. Thanks to sectors like steel and agriculture, China is now Ukraine’s top trading partner. When Ukraine stopped buying gas from Russia in 2014, the two countries’ economic ties underwent a turning point. Recently, Ukraine has made serious efforts to cut its connection to the Russian energy grid—another Soviet legacy—and to locate different diesel fuel sources. Since the invasion in 2022, Ukraine will probably try to nationalize all Russian assets there.
Russian and Ukrainian trade conflict 2014-2019
Limits on trade with Ukraine
- A food embargo that was repeatedly extended (poultry, cheese, dairy products made with raw milk, etc.).
- Transit restrictions, practically all of which forbid transit through its borders to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
- Blacklisting as part of targeted sanctions
- In November 2018, Russia imposed special economic sanctions on a number of Ukrainian citizens and legal companies, including the freezing of their bank accounts, the confiscation of any unregistered securities or real estate in Russia, and a prohibition on money transfers from Russia.
- In April 2019, Russia announced a ban on the shipment of coal, oil, and petrochemicals to Ukraine starting in June (Russian coal exports make up roughly two-thirds of Ukraine’s total coal imports).
Limits on trade with Russia
- Import restrictions on certain products (2016–2018); in 2019 the restrictions were extended until 2021.
- Confectionery, minor grain crops, soy sauce, tomato sauce, fresh and preserved fish, and fish roe are among the available products.
- Blacklisting as part of targeted sanctions
- Personal sanctions (sanction lists) against people and organizations connected to the Russian Federation are now in effect and are included in the Decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.
- On May 15, 2019, there was a ban on Russian plywood and cement (in retaliation for Russian sanctions that were put in place on April 18, 2019).
Ukraine-Russia trade data
Ukraine exported $3.61 billion to Russia in 2021 as per the Ukraine export data. The top three exports from Ukraine to Russia were flat-rolled steel ($131M), hot-rolled iron ($353M), and aluminum oxide ($613M). Exports from Ukraine to Russia have dropped over the past 25 years at a yearly rate of 1.78%, from $5.65 billion in 1996 to $3.61 billion in 2021.
Russia exported $8.13 billion to Ukraine in 2021 according to the Russia export data. Coal briquettes ($1.22 billion), refined petroleum ($1.2 billion), and petroleum gas ($386 million) were the biggest exports from Russia to Ukraine. From $7.65 billion in 1996 to $8.13 billion in 2021, Russia’s exports to Ukraine have grown at an annualized pace of 0.24% during the past 25 years.
Ukraine ranked 47 in terms of overall exports ($69.1B) and 44 in terms of the Economic Complexity Index (ECI 0.49) in 2021. Russia was rated 10 in overall exports ($484B) and 45 in the Economic Complexity Index (ECI 0.46) in that same year as reported in the trade data as well.
Ukraine’s top imports and exports
These were Ukraine’s top imports in 2021, according to import data.
- Mineral fuels and oils ($12.48 billion)
- industrial machinery ($7.82 billion)
- vehicle parts and accessories ($7.00 billion)
- electronics ($6.15 billion)
- plastics ($3.48 billion)
- pharmaceuticals ($2.98 billion)
- miscellaneous chemical products ($1.67 billion)
- fertilizers ($1.55 billion)
- iron and steel ($1.46 billion)
- optical and medical instruments ($1.46 billion)
The top imports from Ukraine in 2021 accounted for 65.88% of the country’s total imports, while the other imports made up 34.12% of the total.
The top exports from Ukraine in 2021, according to export data, were:
- iron and steel ($13.13 billion)
- cereals ($11.84 billion)
- ore, slag, and ash ($7.02 billion)
- animal or vegetable fats and oils ($6.89 billion)
- electronics ($3.16 billion)
- industrial machinery ($2.11 billion)
- oil seeds & fruits ($2.11 billion)
- wood ($1.93 billion)
- prepared animal feed ($1.72 billion)
- iron and steel articles ($1.24 billion)
The top exports from Ukraine in 2021 accounted for 77.75% of all exports, while the remaining exports made up 22.25% of total exports from Ukraine
Russia’s top imports and exports
The largest imports into Russia in 2021, according to Russia import data, were –
- industrial machinery and parts ($43.0 billion)
- electronics ($30.1 billion)
- vehicles ($18.4 billion)
- pharmaceutical products ($10.8 billion)
- plastics and other goods ($9.3 billion)
Industrial Machinery and Parts were Russia’s largest import, with a total import value of $43 billion, as can be seen in the trade data of Russia.
The largest exports from Russia in 2021, according to the Russia export data, were –
- mineral fuels and oils ($141 billion)
- pearls, stones, and metals ($30 billion)
- iron and steel ($16 billion)
- cereals ($9.5 billion)
- industrial machinery ($8.3 billion)
Mineral Fuels and Oils had a total export value of $141 Billion, as can be seen from this data on Russian trade.
The global supply chain may be severely impacted by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The movement of goods, including metals, crude oil, and agricultural products, could be restricted in Europe. It would be necessary for countries importing commodities from Russia and Ukraine to hunt for alternate markets. The Ukrainian Republic was the former Soviet Union’s most significant economic entity after Russia. In terms of energy sources, especially natural gas and crude oil, Ukraine is heavily reliant on Russia. According to import-export and trade data, there has been a significant change in the two countries’ trade relations as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.