March 29, 2023

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The European Union approved the eighth package of sanctions against Russia. New “obstacles” for the Kremlin

The European Union adopted a new package of economic and individual sanctions against Russia, as a result of the illegal annexation of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson.

The sanctions package, the 8th adopted by the EU bloc since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, includes a series of tough measures aimed at increasing pressure on the Russian government and economy, weakening Russia’s military capabilities and making the Kremlin pay for recent escalation.

The new set of sanctions introduces into EU legislation the basis for establishing a price ceiling related to the maritime transport of Russian oil destined for third countries and additional restrictions on the maritime transport of crude oil and petroleum products to third countries.

Specifically, the provision of maritime transport services and the provision of technical assistance, brokerage or financing services or financial assistance in connection with the maritime transport to third countries of crude oil (starting from December 2022) or petroleum products (starting from February 2023) will be prohibited ) originating in or exported from Russia. The exemption based on the price ceiling would allow the provision of transport and other services where oil or petroleum products are purchased at or below a predetermined price ceiling.

The European Union extends the import ban on Russian steel products

The new ban imposed on EU vessels to provide shipping services for such products to third countries will apply from the date the Council unanimously decides to introduce the price cap. The price cap will drastically reduce Russia’s oil revenue after its illegal war against Ukraine sent global energy prices soaring. The price ceiling applied to oil can also contribute to the stabilization of energy prices worldwide.

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In terms of trade, the European Union extends the import ban on steel products that either come from Russia or are exported from Russia. Additional import restrictions are also imposed on wood pulp and paper, cigarettes, plastics and cosmetics, as well as items used in the jewelry industry, such as precious stones and metals, which together generate significant revenue for Russia . Restrictions will also be imposed on the sale, supply, transfer or export of another series of products used in the aviation sector.

The new sanctions target individuals and entities that played a role in organizing illegal “referendums”, representatives of the defense sector and figures who spread disinformation about the war. The Council also decided to expand the listing criteria on the basis of which specific designations can be made, to include the possibility of targeting individuals who facilitate the evasion of EU sanctions.

In addition, the list of restricted products that can contribute to Russia’s military and technological consolidation or the development of its defense and security sector has been expanded. The list will now include certain electronic components, chemicals and additional goods that can be used to inflict capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

The so-called referendums, mentioned by the EU

The new set of sanctions includes a ban on the sale, supply, transfer or export of firearms for civilian use, as well as their essential components and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment and spare parts, it indicates a statement posted on Thursday on the website of the EU Council, according to Agerpres.

EU citizens are prohibited from holding positions in the management bodies of certain Russian state-owned or controlled legal entities, entities or bodies.

The sanctions also include the listing of the Russian Naval Registry, a 100% state-owned entity that carries out activities related to the classification and inspection, including in the field of security, of ships and boats registered in Russia or another country.

The provision of accounts or custodial services for crypto-assets to Russian nationals or natural persons residing in Russia is totally prohibited, regardless of the total value of the respective crypto-assets.

The EU Council also decided that, as of Thursday, October 6, the geographic scope of the restrictions introduced on February 23, including in particular the import ban on goods from areas not controlled by the government in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, will be expanded to include areas that are not controlled from Zaporozhye and Kherson oblasts.

This new package of sanctions against Russia is proof of our determination to stop Putin’s war machine and respond to his latest escalation through fake ‘referendums’ and the illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories. Thus we are hitting Russia’s war economy even more, limiting Russia’s import/export capacities, and we are on the fastest way to free ourselves from energy dependence on Russia. We are also targeting those responsible for the illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories. The EU will stand by Ukraine as long as needed“, said the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell.

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