Representatives of European Union countries met in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss a new batch of sanctions against Russia that would supposedly cost Moscow EUR 11 bn in lost trade, the European Commission head Ursula Von der Leyen said.
The bloc is expected to agree on the new package of sanctions in sync with the one-year mark of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, but the specific proposals must get the unanimous backing of all EU member states.
“We are weakening Russia’s ability to maintain its war machine. We have adopted nine packages of sanctions, the Russian economy is shrinking,” the European Commission president stated.
“We need to keep up the pressure,” she told the European Parliament ahead of the closed-door talks among the 27 national envoys in Brussels.
“We’re talking about EUR 11 bn. We are suggesting restrictions on some dual-use and electronic components used in Russian armed systems such as drones and missiles and helicopters,” she emphasized.
We are weakening Russia’s ability to maintain its war machine.
Our 10th sanction package contains trade bans and controls on technology exports worth €11 billion.
Russia is using hundreds of Iranian-built drones.
We propose to extend our export controls to Iranian entities. pic.twitter.com/VuLc60YlaY
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) February 15, 2023
The 10th package of sanctions
The Commission has proposed EU countries should cut four more Russian banks from the global messaging system SWIFT, including the private Alfa-Bank, the online bank Tinkoff and the commercial lender Rosbank, two EU diplomatic sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
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Rubber and asphalt would be added to the EU list of barred imports from Russia and the bloc would ban Russia Today’s Arabic service from its territory, according to the people, who are familiar with the confidential talks.
Further bans on EU exports to Russia were meant to curb Moscow’s ability to produce arms and equipment deployed against Ukraine.
The sources said they would cover electronic circuits and components, thermal cameras, radios, and heavy vehicles, as well as steel and aluminum used in construction and machinery serving industrial and construction purposes.
The Commission also proposed further restrictions on European joint ventures with Russia and Russian nationals sitting on boards in Europe, they added.
The bloc aims to both extend its measures against Russia and close loopholes in existing sanctions, including tighter controls on selling satellite data to China, which the sources said risked being passed on to Russia.
The EU has so far located around EUR 33.8 bn worth of Russian central bank assets on its territory, according to EU officials, from an estimated USD 300 bn frozen outside of Russia.