Coal, investment, port closures: update on sanctions against the Russian economy
Coal embargo, new investments banned, European ports closed to Russian ships: here comes the point about the economic sanctions that Europeans and Americans have taken against Russia since the beginning of the war.
The European Union (EU), whose member states are heavily dependent on Russia for energy, finally decided on Thursday evening to stop purchasing coal from the Russian Federation (45% of coal imports) as of August.
The Twenty-seven already planned to cut their Russian gas imports by two-thirds by the end of the year, and they are prohibiting Europeans from making new investments in this vital sector for Russia.
Another symbolic decision: the suspension of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which would increase supplies of Russian gas to Germany.
The United Kingdom promised on Wednesday to halt imports of Russian coal, but by the end of the year, as it had already promised to do for Russian crude oil and petroleum products.
The United States imposed an embargo on Russian oil and gas imports in early March.
The EU announced Thursday evening to close its ports to Russian ships. Russian and Belarusian road hauliers are also not allowed to operate in the EU.
The airspace of NATO and EU members was already closed to Russian aircraft and many airlines are suspending flights to Russia.
The aviation industry is more widely involved: ban on the export of aircraft, spare parts or equipment, cessation of maintenance of Russian registered aircraft by Airbus and Boeing, banned access to insurance and reinsurance services in London.
The fifth package of European sanctions adopted on Thursday includes a ban on exports to Russia, especially high-tech goods, of up to €10 billion.
The list of Russian products that cannot be imported into the EU has also been extended to certain “raw materials and critical materials” for an estimated value of 5.5 billion euros per year.
Shortly before the announcement of the new European sanctions on Thursday, the US Congress had revoked the commercial status of Russia and Belarus by extending their clause of “most favored nation”enough to impose punitive customs tariffs on imports from the two countries.
Imports of fish, vodka and Russian diamonds are simply banned by the United States.
On Wednesday, the United States banned all new investment in Russia and the United Kingdom banned all new British investment in the country.
Since Monday, the US Treasury Department has banned Russia from repaying its debt with dollars in US banks, forcing Moscow to settle a debt of $649.2 million in rubles and raising the threat of default. Washington also this week imposed a freeze on all their assets on Russian banking institutions Sberbank and Alfa Bank “in touch with the US financial system”†
The United Kingdom has so far frozen $350 billion in foreign exchange from the Russian regime, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss calculated on Tuesday.
The United States and the EU, followed by other countries, have banned all transactions with the Russian Central Bank and immobilized its foreign currency assets.
Another heavy blow: the exclusion of the country’s major banks from the Swift interbank system, a vital cog in global financing that allows transactions to be communicated quickly and securely.
Hundreds of Russian personalities have been sanctioned, including two daughters of President Vladimir Putin, who were in turn targeted by Washington and Brussels.
The EU on Thursday expanded its blacklist to 18 entities and more than 200 additional personalities, now sanctioned by a ban on entry into the EU and an asset freeze.
Vladimir Putin himself has already been the target of sanctions, such as his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, or Igor Sechin, the boss of the oil company Rosneft.
According to a statement by the UK government on Wednesday, London has in turn sanctioned a total of 82 oligarchs weighing 170 billion pounds sterling (200 billion euros) and 18 banks representing 940 billion pounds in assets (1,120 billion euros).