EU announces sweeping new sanctions against Russia News
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EU announces sweeping new sanctions against Russia

The Council of the EU Friday imposed its fifth round of economic and individual sanctions against Russia for its ongoing aggression against Ukraine.

This fifth package of sanctions is comprised of six elements. The first is a complete import ban on all forms of Russian coal. European imports of coal are worth about €8 billion to Russia every year. The second is a ban on Russian and Belorussian freight road operators transporting goods by road within the EU, as well as a ban on Russia-flagged sea vessels to EU ports. There are exemptions to these bans for shipments of humanitarian goods and essentials such as food products.

The third element is a series of targeted export bans on European goods in areas in which Russia is highly dependent. This includes a ban on quantum computing, advanced semiconductors, sensitive machinery, transportation and chemicals, as well as jet fuel and fuel additives that may be used by the Russian military. The export bans are designed to limit Russia’s technology base and industrial capacity and are worth €10 billion.

The fourth element is an import ban against Russian products such as wood, cement, fertilizers, seafood and liquor worth about €5.5 billion. Another element is a full transaction ban and asset freeze on four Russian banks representing 23 percent of the Russian banking sector. The ban includes prohibitions against deposits to cryptocurrency wallets and granting advice on trusts to wealthy Russians to prevent them from storing their wealth in the EU.

The final element in the sanctions package is the total prohibition of Russian nationals and entities from participating in public procurement contracts in EU member states. This includes a prohibition on the sale of banknotes and transferable securities denominated in all official EU currencies to Russia and Belarus. The European Commission noted that an additional 217 individuals and 18 entities have been sanctioned, bringing the total to 1091 individuals and 80 entities since 2014.

Josep Borrell, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said in a statement that this latest round of sanctions was adopted following the revelation of atrocities in the Ukrainian city of Bucha and other areas that have been under Russian occupation. He said that the aim of these sanctions is “to stop the reckless, inhuman and aggressive behaviour of the Russian troops and make clear to the decision makers in the Kremlin that their illegal aggression comes at a heavy cost.”