EU to target Russian gold
The European Union will ban Russian gold as part of its seventh sanctions package and seek to “close exit routes” for those bypassing its earlier restrictions, EU commissioner Maros Sefcovic said on Friday, according to the Associated Press.
The EU will look into “ways we could slap a sanction regime on gold, which is an important commodity for exports from Russia,” Sefcovic stated.
“As soon as we reach an agreement at the level of member states, we will publish it,” he said ahead of an informal meeting of EU affairs ministers.
The move follows a ban on Russian gold agreed by the leading Western economies at a G7 meeting at the end of June.
Earlier on Friday, sources cited by Reuters claimed that Brussels would also tighten certain previous restrictions, including placing new curbs on the import of goods that could be used for military purposes, such as chemicals and machinery.
New individuals and entities considered close to the Kremlin will reportedly be added to the EU blacklist mandating asset freezes and travel bans.
The EC will also amend the previous punitive measures to make sure they do not hit Russia's food and grain exports, several officials told Reuters.
Some of the proposed changes are also meant to ensure that existing restrictions – such as the ban on Russian ships accessing EU ports – are not misinterpreted by entities conducting trade, one of the sources said. The port ban, for example, already allows Russian ships carrying food or medicines to enter EU ports.
Meanwhile, while clarifying that Russian vessels laden with food and medicine can enter ports, for other ships the ban is expected to be tightened by preventing the offloading of cargoes at outer docks, thus bypassing sanctions, the sources noted.
EU envoys are set to discuss the new package next week for final approval before the summer break, according to Reuters.
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