War against Ukraine: Von der Leyen proposes new EU sanctions against Russia

The EU Commission has presented a proposal for another package of sanctions against Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.

War against Ukraine: Von der Leyen proposes new EU sanctions against Russia

The EU Commission has presented a proposal for another package of sanctions against Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.

The package contains, among other things, the legal basis for a price cap for oil imports from Russia and other import restrictions worth seven billion euros, said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels. Now the EU states must negotiate the proposal and decide unanimously on it.

The proposal for new punitive measures is also a reaction to the partial Russian mobilization in the war against Ukraine and the sham referendums in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories. "In the past week, Russia took another step towards escalation in its war of aggression against Ukraine," von der Leyen said. "We do not accept the sham referendums or any kind of annexation in Ukraine." EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called on the international community not to recognize the votes either.

Russia should earn less from its oil

The EU itself has already decided that from December 5 no more Russian crude oil may be imported into the European Union by sea. In addition, the G7 group of economically strong democracies agreed in principle on a price cap for Russian oil, which should also apply to third countries. The aim is for Russia to earn less from its oil worldwide. Moscow is to be forced to sell oil to large buyers such as India at a significantly lower price in the future.

According to the G7 plans, sea transport of petroleum products and crude oil from Russia will only be possible worldwide if the oil is bought below a certain price. There is no concrete limit for this so far. This could work by tying important services, such as insurance for oil shipments, to compliance with the rule.

"This oil price cap will on the one hand help to reduce Russia's revenues and on the other hand keep the global energy markets stable," said von der Leyen. Countries like Hungary, Cyprus and Greece had recently resisted such a price cap. Cyprus and Greece have large tanker fleets that transport oil.

According to von der Leyen, other proposed sanctions also include a ban on EU citizens sitting on the executive bodies of Russian state-owned companies. Berlin in particular had campaigned for this after ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD) had been head of the supervisory board of the Russian oil company Rosneft for a long time.

In addition, according to the will of the EU Commission, it should be forbidden to export certain key technologies to Russia. These included "products for aviation, electronic components and special chemical base materials," said von der Leyen.

Further entry bans and asset freezes are planned

In order to make it more difficult to circumvent sanctions, a list of people who have already tried to do so is also to be introduced. This will have a deterrent effect, von der Leyen said. Other people are also to be subject to entry bans and asset freezes.

According to Borrell, this should affect representatives of Russian authorities in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Cherson and Zaporizhia regions, who would have helped to hold the mock referendums. In addition, high-ranking employees of the Russian Ministry of Defense should be on the sanctions list.

On Tuesday, the occupying administrations deployed by Moscow in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia and Cherson regions, after the ballots criticized as a violation of international law, spoke of great support for joining Russia. The mock referendums, which have been held for five days since last Friday amid widespread international protest, are not recognized worldwide because they were held in violation of Ukrainian and international laws and without minimum democratic standards.

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