EU to target Russian gold in next sanctions package: Commissioner
The EU says it will investigate measures to impose sanctions on gold, "which is an essential commodity for Russian exports."
The European Union is focusing on Russian gold exports in its sanctions package and seeks to "close exit routes" for bypassing earlier packages, as the EU commissioner revealed on Friday.
So far, the EU has adopted six penalty packages against Russia. The most recent one, passed in June, prohibited most Russian oil imports.
The EU will look into "ways we could slap a sanction regime on gold, which is an important commodity for exports from Russia," Maros Sefcovic, deputy head of the European Commission, said in Prague.
"As soon as we reach an agreement at the level of member states, we will publish it," he said ahead of an informal meeting of EU affairs ministers held by the Czech presidency of the 27-nation bloc.
The move follows a ban on Russian gold exports agreed upon by the world's most industrialized nations at the end of June at a G7 summit.
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On Thursday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishyna, who was in Prague for the meeting, asked the EU to pass a new sanctions package. "Nothing makes Russia so far feel accountable for (its) crimes," she told reporters.
"We hope the next, seventh package of sanctions will have a strong restrictive potential and will be taken without further delay and as soon as possible," said Stefanishyna.
Sefcovic added that the EU would also seek to "close all exit routes for those wanting to bypass the sanctions."
"It is of course a very complex mechanism, so we need to not only set up, but also check, monitor, and close the places that would create platforms for an exit in some way," she said.
He also dismissed any notions of exhaustion among EU nations assisting Ukraine.
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"I have never seen so strongly demonstrated unity and effort from all member states to look for all possible reserves, whether we talk about financial aid or arms supplies," Sefcovic claimed.
"Even though it's really difficult, we will continue because it's the Ukrainians fighting for their freedom who are in the most difficult situation," he added.