OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee has banned state agencies from entering into contracts with or investing in Russian state entities in response to the country's "unprovoked and unjustified" invasion of Ukraine.
State agencies must now identify and cut any existing contracts and rescind existing investments with the Russian government, companies owned by the Russian government or with companies or individuals sanctioned by the U.S. government in response to the invasion, Inslee said.
"This invasion, which continues, has resulted in grievous loss of life among Ukrainian military personnel and civilians, and it has sparked a historic refugee crisis with global impacts—including for Washington state's large Ukrainian, Russian, and other Eastern European communities," Inslee wrote. "As the world responds to this crisis with humanitarian and military aid, Washington State must also do its part in this common effort."
The state didn't have an estimate of how much money is currently tied up with Russian entities. The government ordered each state agency to complete a review of relevant investments or contracts and report those findings to the state no later than March 18.
The directive comes after the U.S. government imposed a wide range of sanctions on Russia intended to impact the nation's economy. The Biden administration also recently banned Russia from American airspace.
The Washington State Investment Board (WSIB), an independent board that oversees the state's retirement and public trust investments, is also restricting investments in Russian state entities, Inslee said.
The WSIB said Russian investments are limited due to the agency's "longstanding skepticism toward Russia as an investment market." The agency's estimated equity fund exposure is around $100 million, according to a press release.