- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 27, 2022

Two Republican governors have asked their states to pull Russian vodka from shelves in solidarity with Ukraine.

Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox directed the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to remove all Russian-produced and Russian-branded products from its shelves immediately.

Russia’s ruthless attack on a sovereign nation is an egregious violation of human rights,” Mr. Cox said over the weekend. “Utah stands in solidarity with Ukraine and will not support Russian enterprises, no matter how small the exchange.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine told the state Department of Commerce to stop the purchase and sale of vodka made by Russian Standard.

Mr. DeWine called it “the only overseas, Russian-owned distillery with vodka sold in Ohio.” It is sold under the brand names of Green Mark Vodka & Russian Standard Vodka.

He estimated there are 6,400 bottles of vodka made by Russian Standard for sale in Ohio’s 487 liquor stores.

“Retailers have been asked to immediately pull Green Mark Vodka and Russian Standard Vodka from their shelves,” Mr. DeWine tweeted.

Officials in Ontario, Canada, made similar moves, and a store in Wichita, Kansas, is replacing Russian selections with Ukrainian ones. The owners told KSNW in Kansas that they poured some of the Russian product out and removed the rest of the bottles to a backroom, meaning customers would have to specially request the products, which won’t be on display.

“I think the whole world knows by now that Russia’s at war with Ukraine for no apparent reason,” Jamie Stratton, partner and wine director of the Jacob Liquor Exchange, told the station. “I guess this is our sanction. We don’t support it. There’s no reason to support it. There’s no reason for them to invade the Ukrainians, and this may be small, but every small thing makes a difference.”

Efforts to box out Russian liquor are largely a symbolic show of solidarity compared to far more serious economic consequences the West is imposing on Russia for invading its neighbor.

The U.S. and Europe on Saturday kicked a number of Russian banks off the SWIFT banking system, cutting Russia off from a swath of international financial transactions in the strongest sanction imposed so far for its invasion of Ukraine. The nations also imposed major restrictions on Russia’s central bank.

Jeff Mordock contributed to this report.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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