| 26 May 2024, Sunday |

EU approves new round of Russia sanctions targeting energy, steel, defence sectors

The European Union formally approved a new round of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine on Tuesday, including bans on investments in Russia’s energy sector, luxury goods exports, and imports of Russian steel products.

The sanctions, which take effect after publication in the EU’s official journal later Tuesday, also freeze the assets of more business leaders who support Russia’s government, including Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich.

According to a statement issued by the European Commission on Tuesday, the sanctions include “a broad ban on new investment in Russia’s energy sector.”

The measure will affect Russia’s oil majors Rosneft, Transneft, and Gazprom Neft, but EU members will still be able to purchase oil and gas from them, according to an EU source.

Transactions with some Russian state-owned enterprises linked to the Kremlin’s military-industrial complex will also be prohibited, according to the EU executive.

On Monday, the EU reached a preliminary agreement on the new sanctions, and no objections were raised before an agreed-upon deadline.

The ban on Russian steel imports is estimated to affect 3.3 billion euros ($3.6 billion) worth of products, the Commission said.

EU companies will also be no longer allowed to export any luxury goods worth more than 300 euros, including jewellery. Exports of cars costing more than 50,000 euros will also be banned, EU sources said.

The package also prohibits EU credit rating agencies from issuing ratings for Russia and Russian companies, which the Commission says will further restrict their access to European financial markets.

The latest sanctions follow three rounds of punitive measures which included freezing of assets of the Russian central bank and the exclusion from the SWIFT banking system of some Russian and Belarusian banks.

The EU also agreed on Tuesday to strip Russia of its “most-favored nation” trade status, opening the door to punitive tariffs on Russian goods or outright import bans.

  • Reuters