EU agrees new sanctions package against Russia

The European Union has agreed to a new package of sanctions in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine, according to the Czech EU Presidency and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The package, proposed by the European Commission on July 15, introduces a new import ban on Russian gold, while reinforcing the the EU’s dual use and advanced technology export controls.

Reportedly, the ban on gold imports does not cover jewellery.

The European Commission said on July 15 that the package was intended to “maintain and strengthen the effectiveness of the EU’s six wide-ranging and unprecedented packages of sanctions against Russia”.

The package clarifies a number of provisions to strengthen legal certainty for operators and enforcement by EU countries, the Commission said.

It said that the package would also strengthen reporting requirements to tighten EU asset freezes.

The package also reiterates that EU sanctions do not target in any way the trade in agricultural products between third countries and Russia. The text clarifies the exact scope of some financial and economic sanctions, the Commission said.

The Commission’s proposed package included extending the current EU sanctions for six months, until the next review at the end of January 2023.

“The new measures will align the EU with G7 partners, reinforce implementation and close loopholes where necessary,” the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU said on Twitter.

“Member States have agreed to our reinforced, prolonged EU sanctions against the Kremlin. I welcome that. It sends a strong signal to Moscow: we will keep the pressure high for as long as it takes,” Von der Leyen said in a tweet on July 21.

The sanctions reportedly also include a freeze on assets owned by Russia’s Sberbank, while unblocking assets at Russian banks linked to the trade in food and fertilisers, in a move to counter Kremlin allegations that sanctions are causing a food crisis.

The sanctions, details of which are to be published in the Official Journal of the EU, bringing them into effect, lengthen the list of people and entities subject to sanctions, reportedly including pro-Kremlin biker club the Night Wolves, which has expressed support for Russia’s war on Ukraine.

(Illustration: Stevebidmead, via Wikimedia Commons)

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