EU unleashes new sanctions on Russia
The European Union on Tuesday introduced a fourth round of anti-Russian sanctions. The new measures include bans on investments in the Russian energy sector, and prohibitions on export of luxury goods and imports of iron and steel.
The new economic penalties include a ban on all transactions with certain enterprises owned by the Russian state, and a prohibition on various metal imports from Russia. European agencies are also forbidden from providing credit ratings to any Russian persons or entities, and EU citizens are barred from making any new investments in Russia’s energy sector.
Oil and gas imports to the EU, however, remain unaffected. Europe depends heavily on Russia for its energy imports, and while leaders in Brussels plan to lessen that dependence, they have stopped short of imposing import bans like the UK and US have already done.
The new sanctions also prohibit the export of luxury goods worth more than 300 euros ($328) to Russia, including champagne, handbags, diamonds and vehicles worth more than 50,000 euros ($54,730). An exhaustive list of banned goods published in the EU’s legal journal also mentions luxuries like purebred racehorses and works of art, as well as mundane purchases like cotton t-shirts and cigarettes.
Nine Russian entities – including the jet fuel subsidiary of energy giant Rosneft and a number of Russian arms manufacturers and other military-industrial firms – have also been sanctioned, as have 15 individuals, among them billionaire Roman Abramovich.
The new sanctions follow three rounds of similar restrictions levied against Russia by the EU in recent weeks. Earlier sanctions targeted Russian lawmakers and businesspeople, the country’s financial sector, and media outlets RT and Sputnik. EU airspace has also been closed to Russian flights since February.
The goal of the sanctions, combined with similar measures imposed by the US and UK, is to raise the cost of living for Russians over the conflict in Ukraine. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told CBS News on Sunday that international sanctions will have a “severe” impact on the Russian economy, resulting in a deep recession later year.
However, Russian President Vladimir Putin insists the country can weather such “economic warfare,” thanks to its wealth of natural resources and extensive reserves. Besides halting some exports, including grain, Russia responded to American sanctions on Tuesday by blacklisting US President Joe Biden and a number of his top officials. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that more American officials and media figures “who are Russophobic or contribute to inciting hatred towards Russia” will be added to the list in the near future.