Russia ETFs Collapse After Invasion

‘RSX’ dropped more than 20% after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Senior ETF Analyst
Reviewed by: Sumit Roy
Edited by: Sumit Roy

Markets are recoiling again today as Russia launches a full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine. The U.S. government had been warning for weeks of the assault, but many people—including many investors—had held out hope for a diplomatic solution to the crisis. 

Those hopes were quickly dashed as Russia unleashed missile strikes and troops into Ukraine overnight. Analysts say this is essentially the worst-case scenario in terms of the Ukraine-Russia crisis. No one knows exactly how things will unfold, but there is speculation that Russian President Vladimir Putin will attempt to install a Kremlin-friendly government in Ukraine.  

Western countries are expected to unveil harsh, sweeping sanctions on Russia in response to the country’s incursion into Ukraine—arguably the most significant attack on a country’s sovereignty since World War II.  

While the exact list of sanctions that the U.S. and its allies will apply to Russia remains to be seen, restrictions related to technology exports and financial markets are likely to be a part of any package. There is also the potential for Russian banks to be banned from using SWIFT, a key global payments system.  

Russia ETFs Collapse  

The prospect of these harsh sanctions led to intense selling in Russia ETFs today. The VanEck Russia ETF (RSX) tumbled a whopping 22%. That’s on top of losses of 9.3% on Wednesday and 8.9% on Tuesday.  

The ETF has been more than cut in half from its October highs and finds itself at the lowest levels since the depths of the pandemic-driven sell-off in March 2020. It’s a similar story for the iShares MSCI Russia ETF (ERUS), which is down 19% on the session. 



Spiking oil prices, which topped $105/barrel for the first time since 2014, have done little to support Russia’s stock market—though things could have been worse for the market were it not for the surge in oil and gas (which together account for one-fifth of the country’s GDP, per the Wall Street Journal). 

The United States Brent Oil Fund (BNO) is up 30.3% year-to-date, making it one of the top-performing ETFs in a dismal year for financial markets overall. 


Brent Oil Prices 


In stark contrast, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is now down 13% since the start of the year and 14% from its all-time high reached in early January. The underlying S&P 500 is now firmly in correction territory and investors are bracing to see whether it heads into a bear market, or 20% down from its highs. 


S&P 500 


Follow Sumit Roy on Twitter@sumitroy2   

Sumit Roy is the senior ETF analyst for, where he has worked for 13 years. He creates a variety of content for the platform, including news articles, analysis pieces, videos and podcasts.

Before joining, Sumit was the managing editor and commodities analyst for Hard Assets Investor. In those roles, he was responsible for most of the operations of HAI, a website dedicated to education about commodities investing.

Though he still closely follows the commodities beat, Sumit covers a much broader assortment of topics for, with a particular focus on stock and bond exchange-traded funds.

He is the host of’s Talk ETFs, a popular video series that features weekly interviews with thought leaders in the ETF industry. Sumit is also co-host of Exchange Traded Fridays,’s weekly podcast series.

He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he enjoys climbing the city’s steep hills, playing chess and snowboarding in Lake Tahoe.