The European Union agreed on Saturday to impose new sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine targeting more officials and organizations accused of supporting the war, spreading propaganda or supplying drones, as well as restrict trade in products that could be used by the armed forces.
The Swedish EU presidency said the sanctions “are aimed at political and military leaders, companies that support or work within the Russian military industry, and commanders of the Wagner Group. Transactions with some of Russia’s largest banks are also prohibited.”
The assets of three other Russian banks and seven Iranian “entities” (companies, agencies, political parties or other organizations) that make military drones, which the EU suspects have been used by Russia during the war, have been frozen.
The new measures, proposed by the EU executive branch three weeks ago, were only adopted after many internal disputes over their exact composition and were made public a day after the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the scheduled date.
The delay, which was minor but symbolically important, is further evidence of how difficult it has become for the 27-nation bloc to identify new targets for restrictive measures that are acceptable to all member nations.
The sanctions are aimed at undermining Russia’s economy and depleting funds for its war effort, but they are also inflicting increasing pain on European economies already hit by high inflation and energy prices and still suffering from the effects of the covid-19 pandemic.
Before this latest round of measures, the EU had already attacked nearly 1,400 Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, government ministers, lawmakers and oligarchs believed to be loyal to the Kremlin, but also officials believed to be responsible for war crimes or attacking civilian infrastructure.
The bloc had also frozen the assets of more than 170 organizations, from political parties and paramilitary groups to banks, private companies and media outlets accused of spreading pro-Kremlin propaganda.
Russia’s energy sector was also affected, particularly oil and coal, and the bloc, through its own measures and policy decisions combined with retaliation from Moscow, quickly abandoned its reliance on Russian natural gas.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the new package in his late-night speech on Saturday.
“Sanctions will continue to be introduced so that nothing of the potential for Russian aggression is left,” he said.
“There are new powerful 10th package sanctions steps against the defense industry and financial sector of the terrorist state and against the propagandists who drowned Russian society in lies and are trying to spread their lies all over the world,” Zelensky. saying.