EU announces new sanctions against Russia 

On Thursday, European Union members agreed on the fifth round of sanctions against Russia over the invasion of Ukraine. This joint decision comes amid fresh allegations that civilians were being executed by Russian soldiers in villages and towns outside of Kyiv. 

The package of sanctions includes a coal embargo worth approximately €4 billion per year. This is the first time the EU’s sanctions have targeted the Russian energy sector. 

It also includes the freezing of assets of a number of Russian banks, the closure of EU ports to Russian-flagged ships, and a ban on exports to Russia of some products, such as high-tech goods up to a value of €10 billion. 

These sanctions have now been approved by the EU’s Committee of Permanent Representatives and a document detailing the measures has been released by the Council. 

In a tweet, the French EU Council presidency said, “This very substantial package extends the sanctions against Russia to new areas and provides in particular, sanctions against oligarchs, Russian propaganda actors, members of the security and military apparatus, and entities in the industrial and technological sector linked to Russian aggression against Ukraine.”

Until now, EU member states had been unable to agree on whether to include Russian energy as part of the sanctions, as many countries are heavily dependent on Russia for oil and gas. Hungary, for example, said it would block imposing sanctions on Russian energy. 

However, in a European Parliament debate, EU Council President Charles Michel said they would likely be needed eventually. He said, “We must close the loopholes. We must target any attempt to circumvent sanctions and we are ready to move quickly. 

We have further coordinated robust sanctions. The new package includes a ban on coal imports. And ladies and gentlemen, I think that measures on oil and even gas will also be needed sooner or later.”

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