The new “maintenance and alignment” package adopted by the European Council is designed to strengthen existing sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
Announcing the new measures, the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said: “Today, we are taking another important step to curtail Russia’s capacity to continue and finance its war of aggression against Ukraine. We are effectively banning Russia’s most significant export after energy – Russian gold.”
He added: “We are also extending the exemption of transactions for agricultural products and transfer of oil to third countries. Because the EU is doing its part to ensure we can overcome the looming global food crisis. It is up to Russia to stop bombing Ukraine’s fields and silos, and stop blocking Black Sea ports.”
The European Council, which represents the governments of the 27 EU nations, said in a statement that the new measures were intended "to tighten existing economic sanctions targeting Russia, perfect their implementation and strengthen their effectiveness."
Ban on Russian gold and jewellery
The new package introduces “a new prohibition to purchase, import, or transfer, directly or indirectly, gold, if it originates in Russia and it has been exported from Russia into the EU or to any third country after.”
“This prohibition also covers jewellery,” the European Council added.
Stronger export controls on dual-use and advanced tech
The package “extends the list of controlled items, which may contribute to Russia’s military and technological enhancement or the development of its defence and security sector, thereby reinforcing export controls on dual use and advanced technology,” the EU said.
The bloc is also introducing “a number of clarifications to existing measures, for instance in the field of public procurement, aviation and justice.”
Thus, for example, “technical assistance to Russia for aviation goods and technology will be allowed insofar as it is needed to safeguard the technical industrial standard setting work of the International Civil Aviation Organization, and the prohibition to enter into any transactions with Russian public entities will be slightly amended to ensure access to justice,” the EU Council said.
Avoiding negative effects for global food and energy security
Also, with a view “to avoid any potential negative consequences for food and energy security around the world, the EU decided to extend the exemption from the prohibition to engage in transactions with certain state-owned entities as regards transactions for agricultural products and the transport of oil to third countries,” the statement added.
Moreover, the EU stressed it was “committed to avoiding all measures which might lead to food insecurity around the globe.”
The EU Council said that “none of the measures adopted today or earlier in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine target in any way the trade in agricultural and food products, including wheat and fertilisers, between third countries and Russia.”
It added: “Similarly, EU measures do not prevent third countries and their nationals operating outside of the EU from purchasing pharmaceutical or medical products from Russia.”
Poland welcomes new EU measures against Russia
Commenting on the new measures, Poland’s Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said in a tweet on Thursday: “The individual sanctions adopted by the EU today include the Russkiy Mir Foundation & Rossotrudnichestvo, which spread Russian propaganda and promote Russkiy Mir ideology, which has been used to justify Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine.”
Poland’s top diplomat added: "A good step towards countering this ideology and malicious Russian influence in the EU based on disinformation.”
Thursday was day 148 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Source: PAP, consilium.europa.eu