Russia’s trade and industry minister said Moscow would not ban titanium exports to the US, a step that was proposed by lawmakers as possible retaliation against tough US sanctions imposed earlier this month.

Denis Manturov said in a state television interview that such a ban would mean following Ukraine, which had barred exports of gas turbines used by Russian shipbuilders as part of anti-Russian sanctions. “We assume that we will not follow [their course] because that would first of all affect shipments of VSMPO-Avisma and of its Russian-American joint-venture,” he said. “Why take decisions that have an adverse impact on our enterprises, on our producers.”

VSMPO-Avisma, a subsidiary of state-owned defence group Rosted, holds the the country’s monopoly on titanium. It exports 70 per cent of its production and has a joint-venture with Boeing in the Urals. The US aircraft maker is expected to buy US$18bn in Russian titanium over the coming decade, its Russian affiliate said last year.

Mr Manturov’s remarks came amid hectic lobbying from several Russian companies, local governments and social groups against the raft of proposed measures listed in a draft bill on sanctions retaliation under discussion in the Duma, the lower house of parliament.

On Monday, the Duma decided not to vote on the proposals until 15 May, a delay which will allow president Vladimir Putin to weigh his course of action in a highly volatile international situation.

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