PHOENIX - The U.S. almost immediately imposed sanctions against Russia to punish the country for invading Ukraine, and now Phoenix area businesses are getting into the act by refusing to sell Russian products.
The owner of SumoMaya in Scottsdale taking a stand against the war in Ukraine by dumping all their Russian alcohol and fine caviar. From thousands of miles away, he's doing what he can to support Ukrainians.
Guillermo Gutierrez, the restaurant's general manager, says his boss called him telling him to get rid of the products worth thousands of dollars at SumoMaya and his other restaurant, Local Bistro. They'll be replacing them with Ukrainian products.
"We live in an amazing country that allows us to do this freely and not have any negative repercussions from it," Gutierrez said. "We're very passionate about it."
The owner issued a statement about the Russian invasion, saying, "... we feel an obligation to make clear we stand with Ukraine and recognize the importance of freedom and expression."
Gutierrez said, although they had recently just stocked up, it didn't stop them from dumping the alcohol.
"(My boss is) like, 'I feel very strongly we shouldn't have those products, so go and dump them,' and I'm like, ‘Absolutely.’ We just loaded up on vodka right before this but that never even crossed our minds. Just a strong stand," Gutierrez said.
While they may be thousands of miles away, Gutierrez says he hopes their decision will make a difference, no matter how small.
"We're just like one little place in Scottsdale, but we figure if we can do one little thing, that's what we're gonna do," Gutierrez said.
The owner will also be accepting donations, and he will personally match up to five thousand dollars in donations for each restaurant. He hopes to get some more Ukrainian dishes and drinks in the restaurant.
More on Russian sanctions
The U.S. officials noted that previously announced sanctions have already had an impact on Russia, bringing its currency to its lowest level against the dollar in history and giving its stock market the worst week on record.
Saturday’s move also includes cutting key Russian banks out of the SWIFT financial messaging system, which daily moves countless billions of dollars around more than 11,000 banks and other financial institutions around the world.
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