Ukraine fallout worries cabinet

Ukraine fallout worries cabinet

Govt watching stock, energy prices closely

A woman with the Ukraine national flag colours painted on her forehead stands with protesters gathered outside the Russian embassy in Bangkok on Monday calling for Russian troops to withdraw from Ukraine. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
A woman with the Ukraine national flag colours painted on her forehead stands with protesters gathered outside the Russian embassy in Bangkok on Monday calling for Russian troops to withdraw from Ukraine. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

The government is expected to introduce economic measures to mitigate the fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine -- especially its impact on global energy prices -- after the cabinet meets later on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha called a meeting with his deputies and relevant agencies to discuss the ongoing developments in Ukraine, as tensions continue to escalate, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on Monday.

The crisis, he said, will undoubtedly have an impact on the economy, which will range from higher oil prices to volatilities in the equity and cryptocurrency markets.

"Thailand's economy will be hurt if the crisis drags on," he said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said the government is closely monitoring the situation.

Although Thailand's energy imports are not directly affected by the crisis, he said the government will boost the nation's fuel stocks to minimise the conflict's impact on the public.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai said Gen Prayut has instructed agencies concerned to prepare measures to cushion any potential impact from the Ukraine crisis.

"The price of energy, the stock market, currency exchange, trade and investments are among issues the prime minister touched on and urged authorities concerned to make comprehensive plans for in case [the crisis] escalates further," he said.

Mr Don also said the government welcomed the news that Ukraine and Russia have agreed to hold talks, before adding Thailand will provide humanitarian assistance to those affected by the conflict.

"International politics is complicated and we can't take it at face value. We hope that the international community will cooperate seriously to resolve this conflict and have it contained," Mr Don said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the prime minister has instructed all agencies to be prepared and that the cabinet will on Tuesday discuss the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

He said while Thailand can largely depend on itself when it comes to consumer goods, the crisis may still affect the export sector, as payments will be difficult to make when the sanctions kick in.

Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the ministry will hold talks with the Bank of Thailand about potential impacts the Ukraine crisis will have on the country's economy.

He said the talks will also focus on the US and its key allies' decision to remove some Russian banks from the Swift financial messaging system, essentially barring them from international transactions.

"We're closely monitoring the situation and assessing how it will affect the tourism and exports sectors," he said.

Separately, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said Thai citizens evacuated from Ukraine will arrive tomorrow.

Their scheduled arrival was announced by the Thai ambassador to Poland, Chetthapan Maksampan, who said Thais evacuees who are currently sheltering in Warsaw and Bucharest, Romania, will depart on a Thai Airways flight on Tuesday.

Upon arriving in Thailand, Mr Chetthapan said that they will be transferred to Sattahip naval base for a one-day quarantine, as all of them have had at least two doses of Covid-19 vaccine.

On Sunday, 60 Thais who were evacuated out of Lviv arrived in Warsaw. Thirty-nine Thais were also evacuated out of Odessa to Bucharest on the same day.

Forty-two more Thais from Lviv will arrive in Warsaw on Tuesday, while 18 will leave southern Ukraine for Bucharest, the ambassador said.

There are currently 33 Thais left in Kyiv and seven in Kharkiv, he said, adding that after consulting with them and their employers, it was agreed the situation was still unsafe for them to leave the area.

As such, he said, they have been told to lay low until the situation on the ground improves.

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