EC proposes stepping up sanctions against Russia

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced on September 28 proposals for stepped-up sanctions against Russia in response to that country’s escalation of its war against Ukraine, including Putin’s announcement of “partial mobilisation” and the moves to illegally annex more parts of Ukraine.

Von der Leyen said that the proposals included a “sweeping” new ban on imports of Russian products, which she said would keep them out of the European market and deprive Russia of seven billion euro revenue.

The proposals include lengthening the list of products that may be exported to Russia, thus weakening its economic basis.

The Commission is proposing additional bans on providing services to Russia, and to ban EU citizens from sitting on the boards of Russian state-owned enterprises, a move that Von der Leyen said was geared to depriving Russia of Western expertise.

The G7 had agreed in principle to a price cap on Russian oil for third countries.

“We are laying the legal basis for an oil price cap,” Von der Leyen said.

The Commission wants a crackdown of circumvention of sanctions, and is proposing a new category that would make it possible to list individuals who had circumvented sanctions.

This would be a major deterrent factor, she said.

Sanctions had made it more difficult to Putin to prosecute the war, Von der Leyen said.

Borrell said that no EU country would recognise the results of the so-called “referendums” held in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, and was calling on the international community to do the same.

The proposed sanctions would increase the lists of persons and entities, including targeting key decision-makers, oligarchs and senior military officers.

The sanctions would cover Russia’s proxy authorities in the four occupied regions, designations in Russia’s defence sector and ministry of defence, and those who spread disinformation about the war and donate funds to Russian-occupied areas.

Borrell said that those to be sanctioned would not necessarily be Russians, but people who participate in the circumvention of sanctions.

(Photo of Von der Leyen: EC Audiovisual Service)

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