The Council of the European Union decided today to impose a new package of economic and individual sanctions against Russia. This package, closely coordinated with the EU’s international partners, responds to Russia’s continued escalation and illegal war against Ukraine, including by illegally annexing Ukrainian territory based on sham “referenda”, mobilising additional troops, and issuing open nuclear threats.
The measures will increase pressure on the Russian government and economy, limit Russia’s revenues and weaken its military capabilities.
This package introduces new EU import bans worth €7 billion. It includes, for example, a ban on the import of Russian finished and semi-finished steel products (subject to a transition period for some semi-finished), machinery and appliances, plastics, vehicles, textiles, footwear, leather, ceramics, certain chemical products, and non-gold jewellery.
The sanctions also deprive the Russian army and its suppliers of further specific goods and equipment needed to wage its war on Ukrainian territory. This includes the banning of the export of coal including coking coal (which is used in Russian industrial plants), specific electronic components (found in Russian weapons), technical items used in the aviation sector, as well as certain chemicals.
A prohibition on exporting small arms and other goods under the anti-torture Regulation has also been added.
The package introduces into EU law the basis to put in place a price cap on the maritime transport of Russian oil to third countries and further restrictions on the maritime transport of crude oil and oil products to third countries. The price cap, once in place, will allow European operators to undertake and maintain the transportation of Russian crude to third countries, provided its price remains below the established “cap”. This will help to further reduce Russia’s revenues, keeping global energy markets stable by keeping supplies flowing.
It would take effect after 5 December 2022 for crude and 5 February 2023 for refined petroleum products, after a further decision by the Council.
Also, additional individuals and entities have been sanctioned. This targets those involved in Russia’s occupation, illegal annexation, and sham “referenda” in the occupied territories/oblasts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions. It also includes individuals and entities working in the defence sector, such as high-ranking and military officials, as well as companies supporting the Russian armed forces. The EU also continues to target actors who spread disinformation about the war.
This package also bans EU nationals from holding posts in the governing bodies of certain state-owned enterprises. It also tightens the existing prohibitions on crypto assets by banning all crypto-asset wallets, accounts, or custody services, irrespective of the amount of the wallet (previously up to €10,000 was allowed).
The eighth package also widens the scope of services that can no longer be provided to the government of Russia or legal persons established in Russia: these now include IT consultancy, legal advisory, architecture and engineering services.
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