The European Union finance ministers approved on Tuesday a fourth package of sanctions against Russia for its continued attack of Ukraine.
The sanctions, which the ministers say are the “fastest, strongest package of sanctions ever adopted by the European Union in its history,” include bans on investments in the Russian energy sector, luxury goods exports and imports of steel products from Russia.
More than 600 powerful Russian oligarchs, including Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich, and several entities were hit by the sanctions.
The European Commission said these sanctions will further contribute to ramping up economic pressure on the Kremlin and cripple its ability to finance its invasion of Ukraine. They have been coordinated with international partners, notably the United States.
All transactions with certain Russian State-owned enterprises across different sectors, linked to the Kremlin’s military-industrial complex, have been prohibited.
The European Union banned import of Russian steel products currently under EU safeguard measures, amounting to approximately EUR3.3 billion in lost export revenue for Russia. Increased import quotas will be distributed to other third countries to compensate.
The 27-nation bloc imposed a far-reaching ban on new investment across the Russian energy sector, with limited exceptions for civil nuclear energy and the transport of certain energy products back to the EU.
An EU export ban on luxury goods, including luxury cars and jewelry, is aimed to directly hit Russian elites.
The list of sanctioned persons and entities has been further extended to include more oligarchs and business elites linked to the Kremlin, as well as companies active in military and defence areas, which are logistically and materially supporting the invasion. There are also new listings of actors active in disinformation.
The rating of Russia and Russian companies by EU credit rating agencies and the provision of rating services to Russian clients have been banned. It would result in them losing even further access to the EU’s financial markets.
The EU, together with other World Trade Organization (WTO) members, agreed to deny Russian products and services most favoured nation treatment in EU markets. This follows an announcement on Friday by G7 members. This will suspend the significant benefits that Russia enjoys as a WTO member.
“These actions against Russia protect the essential security interests of the EU and its partners in light of Russia’s unprovoked, premeditated and unjustified aggression against Ukraine, assisted by Belarus,” according to the European Commission.
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