EU approves 8th package of sanctions against Russia
The new package now includes vehicles, clothes, legal services, and civilian firearms.
The EU Commission confirmed an eighth sanctions package against Russia on Thursday, which involves both economic and personal restrictions, as its statement read, "The Commission welcomes the Council's adoption of the eighth package of hard-hitting sanctions against Russia for its aggression against Ukraine."
Sanctions are a base for Russian oil price cap
The new package sets a foundation for the G7's implementation of the potential oil price cap, with the EU Commission's statement relaying that the package "marks the beginning of the implementation within the EU of the G7 agreement on Russian oil exports. While the EU's ban on importing Russian seaborne crude oil fully remains, the price cap, once implemented, would allow European operators to undertake and support the transport of Russian oil to third countries, provided its price remains under a pre-set 'cap'."
The measure will take effect for crude oil starting December 5 of this year, and as for refined petroleum products, February 5, 2023, is the expected date of effect. Following months of debate, the EU has finally reached an agreement to impose a price cap on Russian oil sales to third countries, in an attempt to block Moscow's use of EU-registered vessels for its oil exports, all while excluding pipeline deliveries from the 8th round of sanctions on Russia, Politico Europe reported on Tuesday.
Sanctions expand ban on imports and export, penalties for those who bypass
After agreeing on almost $6.9 billion worth of additional import restrictions, the ban involved the import of "Russian finished and semi-finished steel products (subject to a transition period for some semi-finished), machinery and appliances, plastics, vehicles, textiles, footwear, leather, ceramics, certain chemical products, and non-gold jewelry."
"Additional export restrictions have been introduced which aim to reduce Russia's access to military, industrial and technological items, as well as its ability to develop its defense and security sector. This includes the banning of the export of coal including coking coal (which is used in Russian industrial plants), specific electronic components (found in Russian weapons), technical items used in the aviation sector, as well as certain chemicals," the statement said.
Individuals were not exempt, as the EU Commission asserted that those who attempt to go around the EU sanctions will be sanctioned themselves. "The EU has introduced a new listing criterion, which will allow it to sanction persons who facilitate the infringements of the prohibition against circumvention of sanctions." The US has already targeted 22 individuals and two entities “who advanced Moscow's objectives in Ukraine both before and after the war in Ukraine," as per the State Department.
Provision of IT, engineering, legal services, and civilian firearms also banned
Among other non-exempt aspects of the package that the EU stacked is the act of providing IT, engineering, and legal services to Russian firms and crypto asset services to Russian citizens, the European Commission said on Thursday.
"The existing prohibitions on crypto assets have been tightened by banning all crypto-asset wallets, accounts, or custody services, irrespective of the amount of the wallet," the statement said.
Furthermore, the sale and transfer of civilian firearms, ammunition, spare parts, military vehicles, and equipment to Russia was added to the list of sanctioned items by the Council of the European Union on Thursday.