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Aerospace company Airbus has urged European leaders to exclude titanium metal from the Russian sanctioned list, as it would lead to more damage to the aerospace sector than the Russian economy, Reuters reported.

The announcement was made by Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury during an annual shareholder meeting.

Faury explained that the titanium metal is used for manufacturing aeroplanes and jet engines and that sanctions on the strategic metal from Russia would ‘not be appropriate’.

Russia is said to be one of the largest producers of titanium, and Airbus has confirmed that it relies on Russia for 50% of its titanium requirements.

Airbus also noted that Russia’s VSMPO-AVISMA has delivered a third of Boeing’s needs under a deal renewed last November.

Russian state-owned defence conglomerate Rostec owns a 25% stake in VSMPO-AVISMA.

An Airbus spokesperson was quoted by the news agency as saying: “Airbus is applying and will continue to apply the sanctions fully.

“Sanctions on Russian titanium would hardly harm Russia, because they only account for a small part of export revenues there. But they would massively damage the entire aerospace industry across Europe.”

However, Faury added that the company is looking for alternative non-Russian titanium suppliers in the long run, while ensuring its strategic metal requirement are met in the short and medium-term.

Last month, Airbus said that ‘it is directly sourcing titanium from Russia, as well as from other countries’ and is indirectly purchasing Russian titanium through suppliers.

The European Union (EU) is reportedly avoiding the purchase of some Russian commodities but has excluded items such as coal, steel and titanium from its procurement list. In March, Boeing halted its titanium purchases from Russian supplier VSMPO-AVISMA due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.