Ban on Russian cats joins the list of sanctions after Ukraine invasion

  • Federation of Internationale Feline, a cat fancier society, imposed import and exhibition restrictions on Russian cats on Wednesday
  • Siberian cats, Russia’s national breed, are some of the most expensive in the world, and can cost up to US$4,000
Kelly Fung |

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Refugees from Ukraine are welcomed as they arrive by bus in Saint-Pierre-de-Chandieu, eastern France, eight days after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photo: AFP

Among the latest sanctions on Russia, which recently launched a military attack on Ukraine, is one targeting the country’s cats.

The Federation of Internationale Feline (FIFE), an international cat fancier society, imposed a ban on Russian cats on Wednesday following the invasion.

A statement released by the Federation said the executive board of FIFE was “shocked and horrified” over the ongoing war in Ukraine, adding that it could not watch the “atrocities and do nothing”.

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Russia is known as the birthplace for some of the world’s most expensive cat breeds, such as the Siberian cat, which has become popular as a house and show pet. The Siberian, Russia’s national cat, can cost a lot of money, with prices ranging from US$1200 – $4000.

Russian Blue and Peterbald are also popular breeds, which can cost US$600 or more in Hong Kong and mainland China.

Saying they were standing in solidarity with Ukraine, FIFE imposed import and exhibition restrictions on Russian cats beginning from March 1, while dedicating part of its budget to supporting cat breeders and fanciers in Ukraine.

Siberian cats can fetch thousands of dollars. Photo: Shutterstock

“No cat bred in Russia may be imported and registered in any FIFE pedigree book outside Russia, regardless of which organisation issued its pedigree,” the FIFE statement stated.

“No cat belonging to exhibitors living in Russia may be entered at any FIFE show outside Russia, regardless of which organisation these exhibitors hold their membership in,” it added.

These restrictions will remain valid until May 31, and will be reviewed by the Federation as necessary.

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But netizens showed a mixed response towards the ban, with some Chinese users expressing their disapproval on Weibo by saying that “animals should not have nationalities” and should not “get caught up in a human war”.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “military operation” in Ukraine. According to Russia’s first casualty update on Wednesday, the war has so far left 498 Russian troops dead and 1,597 injured.

The world has largely condemned Russia for the invasion.

A “Stop War” sign hangs in front of the Ukrainian embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Photo: Reuters

The International Paralympic Committee said on Thursday it was banning Russian and Belarusian athletes from the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, which begin on Friday.

The European Union has imposed sanctions against Russia, including on its banks and airlines, while financing the purchase and delivery of weapons and other equipment to Ukraine.

The United States, Britain, Japan, Australia, and Taiwan have joined forces to impose sanctions on Russia.

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Switzerland, despite its historic neutrality, has also spoken up and followed the European Union in enforcing sanctions on prominent Russian people and companies, freezing their assets as a way to punish the military aggression.

On Thursday, the United Nations (UN) said that more than one million Ukrainians had fled the country, crossing the borders and entering countries such as Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary.

According to the UN, Poland has accepted more than 453,000 refugees, and the Polish government said 50,000 more are arriving every day.

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