EU slaps new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine annexations

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BRUSSELS: The EU on Thursday imposed a new round of sanctions on Russia, expanding import/export bans and blacklisting people over Moscow’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions.
The measures, which came into force with their publication in the bloc’s official administrative journal, also pointed the way to a cap on the price of Russian crude shipped around the world, but only after details are worked out within the group of G7 nations.
The EU regulation said the sanctions were in response to “further Russian aggression against Ukraine, the organization of illegal sham ‘referendums’ in parts of Donetsk, Kherson, Lugansk and Zaporizhia regions that are currently illegally occupied… the illegal annexation of those Ukrainian regions… as well as the mobilization in the Russian Federation and its repeated threat to use weapons of mass destruction.”
Thirty people and seven entities were added to the EU blacklist, including singers Yulia Chicherina and Nikolay Rastorguev, among others considered pro-war “propaganda” artists.
Other listings included Russia’s electoral commission and its head, proxy Russian officials in the annexed regions, and Russian defense officials and defense-affiliated companies.
The regulation also introduced a “circumvention” list on which individuals or companies that assist banned Russian entities in circumventing EU sanctions would be placed.
It was the eighth package of sanctions that the European Union has imposed on Russia since the Kremlin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February.
The last two sanctions packages have been losing steam compared to the previous ones, as Russia’s main business, energy, banking, military and political sectors have already been hit.
service ban
The main measure in the latest sanctions was intended to be a cap on the price of Russian crude transported around the world.
But the legal text published on Thursday does not set out how it would work, leaving it to future deliberations by the European Commission and EU member states in consultation with the G7.
“Although all the main elements of the price cap are in the text at the moment, discussions about what level the price cap will be and some details are still ongoing in the context of the G7,” an EU official said on condition of anonymity. to explain better. the sanctions
“Obviously what is important is that we have a level playing field across the G7 and if possible also have third countries on board.”
The sanctions include expanding a ban on all Russian cryptocurrency transactions, regardless of amount, and expanding an existing ban on Russian imports, and expanding a ban on arms sales to include personal weapons.
In addition, the sale to Russia of electronic components that may be part of Russian weapons, such as transistors, integrated electronic circuits, controllers and aerial surveillance cameras, is prohibited.
In addition, the EU is prohibiting service providers in various sectors from exporting to Russia, including in the fields of legal advice, architecture, engineering, and IT consulting.
Compared to before the war, the EU has now “decoupled” about a third of its exports to Russia and more than half of its imports from the country, an EU official said.
One controversial measure left off the sanctions list was diamonds, a key sector for Belgium because trade with Russia had already shrunk and it was a globalized industry that could easily circumvent European restrictions, an official explained.

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