EU adopts new sanctions against Russia, includes coal and wood veto

The European Union on Friday formally adopted its fifth package of sanctions against Russia since the country’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, including bans on imports of coal, wood, chemicals and other products.

The measures also prevent many Russian ships and trucks from accessing the EU, further damaging trade, and will ban all transactions with four Russian banks, including VTB.

The ban on coal imports will come into full effect from the second week of August. No new contracts can be signed from this Friday, when the sanctions will be published in the EU’s Official Gazette.

Existing contracts will have to be terminated by the second week of August, meaning Russia can continue to receive payments from the EU for coal exports until then.

“These new sanctions were adopted after the atrocities committed by the Russian Armed Forces in Bucha and other places under Russian occupation,” top EU diplomat Josep Borrell said in a statement.

The Kremlin said Western allegations that Russian forces committed war crimes by executing civilians in the Ukrainian city of Bucha were a “monstrous forgery” designed to denigrate the Russian army.

The coal ban alone is estimated by the European Commission at €8 billion a year in lost revenue for Russia. The figure is twice as high as the head of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, had said on Tuesday.

In addition to coal, the new EU sanctions ban Russia’s imports of many other commodities and products, including wood, rubber, cement, fertilizers, high-quality seafood such as caviar, and spirits such as vodka, totaling an additional value. estimated at 5.5 billion euros per year.

The EU has also restricted exports to Russia of a range of products, including jet fuel, quantum computers, advanced semiconductors, cutting-edge electronics, software, sensitive machinery and transport equipment, worth a total of €10 billion a year. .

The sanctions also ban Russian companies from participating in EU public procurement and extend bans on the use of cryptocurrencies, which are considered a potential means of circumventing the sanctions.

The Commission said another 217 people were added to the EU sanctions list as part of the new package, meaning their EU assets will be frozen and will be subject to EU travel bans.

Most of them are political leaders from the breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, but the sanctions have also hit big business, politicians and the military close to the Kremlin.

As a result, around 900 people have already been sanctioned by the EU since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” the neighboring country.

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