| 23 February 2024, Friday |

More sanctions on Russia agreed by EU leaders

European Union countries agreed on a 12th package of sanctions against Russia, the European Council said on Thursday, meaning that a phased ban on Russian diamond imports among other measures will come into effect from Jan. 1.

The EU has been adding sectoral and individual sanctions since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 in an attempt to cut off revenues and military equipment feeding Moscow’s war machine.

“The European Council welcomes the adoption of the 12th package of sanctions,” its concluding statements said.

While the text of the package had been agreed by all countries earlier this week, diplomatic sources said, Austria held back on giving its final approval until late on Thursday. Austria said on Wednesday while it was not opposed, the capital needed time to examine the legal texts.

However, sources familiar with the matter said the country had been attempting to have Raiffeisen Bank International, the biggest Western bank in Russia, struck off a Ukrainian blacklist in return for signing off on fresh European Union sanctions on Russia.

Raiffeisen still appears on Ukraine’s list.

The new sanctions package includes a direct ban on Russian non-industrial diamond imports from Jan. 1 and a phased ban on diamond imports from third countries starting from March in alignment with the Group of Seven (G7) countries.

Other measures include tightening the proof required from companies who claim they adhere to the G7 Russian oil price cap. The package also added measures to prevent Russia from obtaining dual-use goods by making EU companies have their counterparties on certain products sign contracts prohibiting re-export to Russia.

A notification procedure for Russian citizens or entities in Russia wishing to transfer more than 100,000 euro ($109,920.00) out of the EU was also included.

  • Reuters