New EU sanctions and coal embargo against Russia

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The European Union formally adopted a fifth round of sanctions on Russia on Friday, including an embargo on imports of coal, wood and chemicals. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, about 30 billion euros of assets in Russia and Belarus have been frozen.

The European Union (EU) officially adopted on Friday (April 8th) the fifth set of sanctions against Russia, which specifically imposes an embargo on imports of coal, wood, chemicals and other products.

These new sanctions will also prevent many Russian ships and trucks from entering the EU and prohibit any transactions with four Russian banks, including VTB.

The embargo on coal imports will come into full effect from the second week of August, and new contracts will not be able to be signed as of Friday, when the sanctions will be published in the EU’s official journal.

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

Ban on Russian coal, 8 billion euros lost per year

“These latest sanctions were adopted following the atrocities committed by the Russian armed forces in Boutcha and other Russian-occupied places,” EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said in a press release.

According to the Kremlin, Western accusations that Russian forces committed war crimes by executing civilians at Boucha are a “monstrous falsification” aimed at defaming the Russian military.

The Commission estimates that the Russian coal ban alone represents a loss of 8 billion euros per year in revenue for Russia.

In addition to coal, new EU sanctions ban the import of many other goods and products from Russia, including timber, cement, fertilizer, seafood and alcohol, with an estimated total value of 5.5 billion euros per year.

The EU also restricted the export of a number of products to Russia, including kerosene, quantum computers, advanced semiconductors, high-end electronics, software, precision machinery and equipment, worth a total of 10 billion euros per year.

In total, more than 29.5 billion euros in frozen assets

EU countries have frozen at least 29.5 billion euros in Russian and Belarusian assets as part of the sanctions passed against the war in Ukraine, according to a still partial count released by the European Commission.

These assets include boats, helicopters, real estate and works of art worth approximately €6.7 billion. The commission said in a statement that this assessment is “still ongoing”. Brussels has asked member states to share their information, and so far “more than half” have communicated the results of their measures.

EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders urged “all Member States to take all necessary steps to impose sanctions and to report to the Commission without delay those who have not yet done so”.

“Acknowledging sanctions is not enough, it is also important to implement them and monitor our progress,” he said.

with AFP