Strengthened sanctions against Russia enter into force today
The Council of the European Union on Thursday announced that strengthened EU sanctions against Russia, for its involvement in the Ukraine crisis, will enter into force upon the publication of the legal acts in the EU Official Journal on Friday.
They include the following measures: Restrictions on Russia’s access to EU capital markets have been strengthened. EU nationals and companies may no more provide loans to five major Russian state-owned banks.
At the same time, trade in new bonds, equity or similar financial instruments with a maturity exceeding 30 days, issued by the same banks, has been prohibited. The same restrictions have been extended to three major Russian defence companies and three major energy companies.
Providing services related to the issuing of the above financial instruments, e.g. brokering, is also included in the prohibition.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the EU will target Russia’s oil companies Rosneft, Gazpromneft and Transneft.
Oil drilling tech ban
In addition, certain services necessary for deep water oil exploration and production, arctic oil exploration or production and shale oil projects in Russia may no more be supplied, for instance drilling, well testing or logging services. At the same time, the ban on exporting dual use goods and technology for military use in Russia has been extended to also include a list of nine mixed defence companies that must not receive dual use goods from the EU.
24 persons will be added to the list of those subject to a travel ban and an asset freeze. They comprise persons involved in actions against Ukraine’s territorial integrity, including the new leadership in Donbass, the government of Crimea as well as Russian decision-makers and oligarchs. This brings the total of persons subject to sanctions to 119 while 23 entities remain under asset freeze in the EU.
Moreover, the legal basis has been widened to allow imposing asset freezes and travel bans on persons or entities conducting transactions with separatist groups in the Donbass region.
US prepares its own package of sanctions
In a separate statement issued yesterday, U.S. president Barack Obama said the U.S. will joint the European Union and intensify sanctions on Russia “in response to its illegal actions in Ukraine.”
“We are implementing these new measures in light of Russia’s actions to further destabilize Ukraine over the last month, including through the presence of heavily armed Russian forces in eastern Ukraine,” Obama said.
“We will deepen and broaden sanctions in Russia’s financial, energy, and defense sectors. These measures will increase Russia’s political isolation as well as the economic costs to Russia, especially in areas of importance to President Putin and those close to him. My Administration will outline the specifics of these new sanctions tomorrow,” Obama yesterday said.