The European Union has agreed to impose new sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, targeting officials and organizations accused of supporting the war, spreading propaganda, or supplying drones. The sanctions also restrict trade on products that could be used by the armed forces. Transactions with some of Russia’s largest banks are also prohibited. The move is part of a coordinated effort with the US and the UK, with the EU’s latest sanctions expected to have a significant impact on Russia’s economy.
The new measures, proposed by the EU’s executive branch three weeks ago, were only adopted after much internal wrangling over their exact make-up, and made public one day after the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The sanctions are meant to undermine Russia’s economy and drain funds for its war effort. However, they are also increasingly inflicting pain on European economies already hit by high inflation and energy prices and still suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EU’s Swedish presidency said the sanctions are directed at military and political decision-makers, companies supporting or working within the Russian military industry, and commanders in the Wagner Group. Asset freezes were slapped on three more Russian banks and seven Iranian “entities” that manufacture military drones, which the EU suspects have been used by Russia during the war.
Before this latest round of measures, the EU had already targeted almost 1,400 Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, government ministers, lawmakers, and oligarchs believed loyal to the Kremlin. The bloc had also frozen the assets of more than 170 organizations, ranging from political parties and paramilitary groups to banks, private companies, and media outlets accused of spreading pro-Kremlin propaganda. Russia’s energy sector was hit, too — notably oil and coal — and the bloc, through its own measures and political decisions combined with retaliation from Moscow, was rapidly weaned off its dependence on Russian natural gas.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the new package, stating that “sanctions will continue to be introduced so that nothing remains of the potential of Russian aggression.” He noted the “powerful” new sanctions against the defense industry and the financial sector of the “terrorist state” and against the propagandists who “drowned Russian society in lies and are trying to spread their lies onto the whole world.”
The EU’s decision to freeze the assets of three Russian banks is expected to have a significant impact on Russia’s economy, as these banks are among the country’s largest. The sanctions are also expected to reduce trade between the EU and Russia, which could have a significant impact on the EU’s economy. The sanctions could also increase inflation and energy prices in the EU, which is already suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While some EU member states, including Poland and the Baltic states, have been calling for tougher sanctions on Russia, other member states such as Germany and Italy have been more cautious, fearing the impact of the sanctions. The EU’s latest sanctions on Russia highlight the ongoing geopolitical tensions between the two regions, and the impact of these tensions on the global economy.
The EU’s new sanctions on Russia are designed to undermine the country’s economy and drain funds for its war effort in Ukraine. The sanctions target military and political decision-makers, companies supporting or working within the Russian military industry, and commanders in the Wagner Group, among others. While the sanctions are expected to have a significant impact on Russia’s economy, they could also inflict pain on European economies already hit by high inflation and energy prices and still suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The move is part of a coordinated effort with the US and the UK, highlighting the ongoing geopolitical tensions between the regions and their impact on the global economy.