EU targets Russian armed forces, banks in new sanctions

AFP , Wednesday 7 Dec 2022

The EU's executive arm on Wednesday proposed imposing sanctions on Russia's armed forces, three banks and scores of officials, in the latest salvo from Brussels against the Kremlin's war on Ukraine.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen talks to the press as she arrives for the EU-Western Balkans summit in Tirana, on December 6, 2022. AFP


"Russia continues to bring deaths and devastation to Ukraine. It is deliberately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

"But we stand by Ukraine, and we will make Russia pay for its cruelty."

The EU has already imposed eight waves of unprecedented sanctions on Russia since it launched the full-scale invasion in February, including targeting its key oil exports.

EU ambassadors were to start discussing the new, proposed package late Wednesday. Agreement requires unanimity of all 27 member countries.

Diplomats have warned that the bloc is increasingly running out of ways to hurt the Russian economy as the war drags on towards its 10th month.

Von der Leyen said the EU would now look to add "almost 200 individuals and entities" to its visa ban and asset freeze blacklist, including military officers, ministers, and defence firms.

The commission was also proposing sanctions on three additional banks, including the Russian Regional Development Bank.

In the face of Russian strikes on Ukraine, the bloc is eyeing a ban on supplying drone engines to Russia and Iran, the latter of which has supplied warhead-equipped drones used in Moscow's attacks.

It will in addition aim to take four additional channels of the "Russian propaganda machine" off the air and ban new mining investments in the country.

As EU countries discuss the new measures, there is concern Hungary could prove an obstacle as it is locked in a bitter standoff with Brussels over frozen EU funds.

The bloc has shied away from targeting gas supplies from Russia for fear of further pushing up energy prices and steered clear of sectors important to individual member states such as diamonds.

The EU, along with its partners in the G7, introduced measures this week aimed at capping the price of Russian oil sold on the world market, in a bid to limit funds for Moscow's war machine.

The EU's ban on seaborne crude imports from Russia also came into force, after initially being agreed early this year.

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