Russia, China and six other countries have urged the United Nations to lift trade sanctions that could have impeded the fight against the new coronavirus, Russian state media reported on Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was to speak with fellow leaders of the Group of 20 leading economies that day in an emergency video conference on how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
State news agency TASS reported that the joint letter, by Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea and Venezuela called for the UN to reject unilateral coercive measures.
“We cannot allow for political calculations to get in the way of saving human lives,’’ said the letter, addressed to UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted trade throughout the world, especially straining commodity-dependent economies such as Russia, whose rouble currency has lost over a 10th of its value versus the U.S. dollar this month.