EU adopts fourth package of sanctions against Russia over Putin’s war on Ukraine

The Council of the European Union approved on March 15 a fourth package of sanctions against Russia in response to its brutal aggression against Ukraine and its people, a statement by the Council of the EU said.

These sanctions will further contribute to ramping up economic pressure on the Kremlin and cripple its ability to finance its invasion of Ukraine, the statement said.

They have been coordinated with international partners, notably the United States, it said.

“As President Putin’s war against Ukrainian people continues, so does our resolve to support Ukraine and cripple the financing of Kremlin’s war machinery,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

“This fourth package of sanctions is another major blow to the economic and logistic base upon which Russia relies on to carry out the invasion of Ukraine. The aim of the sanctions is that President Putin stops this inhuman and senseless war,” Borrell said.

The sanctions include a full prohibition of any transactions with certain Russian state-owned enterprises across different sectors – the Kremlin’s military-industrial complex.

They introduce an EU import ban on those steel products currently under EU safeguard measures, amounting to approximately 3.3 billion euro in lost export revenue for Russia. Increased import quotas will be distributed to other third countries to compensate.

Further, a far-reaching ban on new investment across the Russian energy sector, with limited exceptions for civil nuclear energy and the transport of certain energy products back to the EU.

The sanctions include an EU export ban on luxury goods (e.g. luxury cars, jewellery, etc.) to directly hit Russian elites, the statement said.

The list of sanctioned persons and entities has been further extended to include more oligarchs and business elites linked to the Kremlin, as well as companies active in military and defence areas, which are logistically and materially supporting the invasion. There are also new listings of actors active in disinformation.

The sanctions ban the rating of Russia and Russian companies by EU credit rating agencies and the provision of rating services to Russian clients, which would result in them losing even further access to the EU’s financial markets.

In addition, the EU, together with other World Trade Organization (WTO) members, agreed on March 15 to deny Russian products and services most favoured nation treatment in EU markets.

This follows an announcement on March 11 by G7 members.

This will suspend the significant benefits that Russia enjoys as a WTO member, the statement said.

“These actions against Russia protect the essential security interests of the EU and its partners in light of Russia’s unprovoked, premeditated and unjustified aggression against Ukraine, assisted by Belarus. They are fully justified under WTO law,” it said.

(Photo: EC Audiovisual Service/ Lukasz Kobus)

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