EU approved new harsh sanctions against Russia for its war

New Russian sanctions were adopted by the European Union. According to the official EU Council website, there are restrictions on oil pricing, imports, and exports in particular.

The major drivers for the EU to act were Russia’s nuclear threats, the military buildup for its seven-month war in Ukraine, and the announcement of the annexation of certain conquered Ukrainian areas.

Due to Russia’s escalating aggression against Ukraine and its illegitimate annexation of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions of Ukraine, the EU Council decided to apply further economic and personal sanctions against Moscow.

The agreed-upon package includes a variety of severe measures meant to put further pressure on the Russian government and economy, diminish Russia’s military power, and hold the Kremlin accountable for the sharpest escalation in hostilities.

Stricter trade limitations for steel and IT products with Russia as well as an oil price cap for Russian naval petroleum shipments to third countries via European carriers are among the measures that aim to bring the EU into line with the US.

Members of the Russian defense ministry, participants in Moscow’s ad hoc annexation votes in occupied eastern Ukraine, and sanction evaders are also included in the sanctions’ list of targets.

“This new wave of sanctions against Russia underlines our willingness to put an end to Putin’s war machine and challenge his most recent use of false “referenda” and illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory,” said Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Relations and Security Policy. As we work fast to remove our reliance on Russian energy, we are increasing pressure on Russia’s military economy and lowering its import and export capacities. We are also pursuing those responsible for the illegitimate annexation of Ukrainian territory. Ukraine may depend on the EU for however long is necessary.

The package creates the legal foundation for increased limitations on the export of crude oil and petroleum products to third countries as well as a price cap on Russian oil shipped to those nations by sea.

It will be prohibited to offer maritime transport, technical support, brokering services, financing, or financial aid related to the marine transport of crude oil or petroleum products produced in or exported from Russia as of December 2022 or as of February 2023. The price cap derogation would allow the provision of the transportation and these services if the oil or petroleum products are acquired at or below a previously agreed price cap. EU vessels will no longer be allowed to provide maritime transport for such products to third countries as of the date the Council unanimously determines to implement the price cap. The price cap will considerably reduce the revenue Russia receives from oil sales after Russia’s illegitimate invasion of Ukraine increased energy prices globally. The restriction on oil prices may help maintain stability in the cost of energy around the world.

Regarding trade, the EU is expanding the ban on imports of steel products produced in or exported from Russia. Additional import restrictions are also placed in place for goods that collectively generate a large amount of revenue for Russia, such as wood pulp and paper, cigarettes, plastics, cosmetics, and materials used to produce jewelry, such as stones and precious metals. There will also be restrictions on the sale, supply transfer, and export of other goods used in the aviation sector.

The package that was accepted today also includes:

– the censure of those involved in organizing unauthorized “referenda,” lobbyists for the weapons industry, and well-known individuals who propagate untruths about the war. The Council also decided to broaden the listing criteria on which individual designations might be based, to include the potential of prosecuting those who assist in the circumvention of EU sanctions.

– the extension of the list of goods that could aid Russia in enhancing its technological and military capability, as well as its defense and security industry. Now, products used for the death sentence, torture, or other harsh, inhumane, or humiliating treatment will be added, as well as additional chemicals and some electronic parts.

– A prohibition on the purchase, transfer, export, or supply of civilian firearms, ammunition, and the essential parts and vehicles used by the military and paramilitary.

– forbidding EU citizens from holding executive positions on the boards of any Russian state-owned or -controlled organizations, businesses, or individuals.

– the Russian Maritime Shipping Register was added to the list of state-owned companies that are subject to the transaction ban. The Russian Maritime Shipping Register is a 100% state-owned organization that conducts operations related to the classification and inspection, including in the area of security, of Russian and non-Russian ships and crafts.

– an immediate ban on offering custody, wallet, or account services for cryptocurrency assets to Russian nationals or other individuals, regardless of the total value of the cryptocurrency holdings.

– The ban on providing Russian engineering, architecture, and IT services, as well as legal representation.

The Council also resolved to expand the geographic scope of the sanctions that went into effect on February 23 to include the uncontrolled portions of the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts. This entails a ban on the import of products from the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts that are not under government control.

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