November 30, 2022

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New Russia sanctions: EU wants to impose entry bans and asset freezes

Price ceiling on oil imports
EU imposes new sanctions on Russia

Partial mobilization, rigged referendums, annexation – Russia continues to escalate its war against Ukraine. The European Union is working with new sanctions. Among other things, it should attack Russia’s oil sector.

EU countries have launched an eighth round of economic sanctions against Russia. Among other things, the Permanent Representatives of Member States approved the legal requirements for a price ceiling on oil imports from Russia, supported by the G7 countries. This was confirmed by several diplomats in Brussels. The agreement must still be confirmed by Capitals in a written proceeding. This should be done by Thursday morning.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed the package in the middle of last week in response to Russia’s latest escalation in its war against Ukraine. “We will not accept fake referendums or any kind of links in Ukraine,” the German politician said. Subsequently, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared four occupied Ukrainian territories as Russian territory. This measure is not internationally recognized. EU heads of state and government declared the decision null and void.

Part of the basic agreement on the new sanctions is a range of export restrictions affecting some key technologies for aviation. In addition, some steel imports from Russia should be banned. In the future, EU citizens will also be prohibited from holding seats in the management bodies of Russian state-owned enterprises. The central government particularly campaigned for it after former chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s long tenure as chairman of the supervisory board of Russian oil giant Rosneft.

Entry barriers and freezing of assets

In addition, there are criminal proceedings against individuals who helped rig the referendum in parts of Ukraine now annexed by Russia. They are subject to entry bans and asset freezes.

With the new set of sanctions, EU countries are creating a basis for Russia to sell oil to big buyers like India at much lower prices than they currently do. It is intended to reduce Moscow’s revenues, which are also used to finance the war against Ukraine. The EU itself has already decided not to import Russian crude oil into the EU by sea from December 5. In addition, the G7 group of economically strong democracies agreed in principle to a price ceiling for Russian oil in early September, which would also apply to third countries.

The G7 consists of three EU countries: Germany, France and Italy. According to G7 plans, sea transportation of petroleum products and crude oil from Russia is possible only if oil is bought below a certain price. It has no definite limit yet. It will work by making essential services such as insurance for oil exports compliant with the rule.

After all, it is unclear whether Hungary will agree to the new sanctions. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has recently railed against punitive measures that have already been decided, even though his government supports the decisions — with some exceptions for his own country. On the other hand, countries such as Cyprus and Greece were worried by the presence of large oil tankers.

(This article was originally published on Wednesday, October 05, 2022.)

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