EU approves new round of sanctions — Analysis

The latest package of economic penalties targets Russia’s gold, banks, bikers and actors

The EU’s Committee of Permanent Representatives on Wednesday approved the bloc’s seventh package of economic sanctions on Russia, Lithuanian Ambassador Arnoldas Pranckevicius announced. In the meantime, some restrictions against Russia were relaxed by the EU to allow for food trading.

A new round of economic sanctions includes an EU-wide ban for gold imports from Russia. It is the same step as Canada, Japan, UK, and Japan already took. Industry analysts described the new ban as symbolic, as it did not affect Western markets that were already blocked from Russian gold due to earlier sanctions.

The package also freezes the assets of Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender. However, Russian assets required to trade in global food will not be frozen. Reuters reports that an amendment to current sanctions, also scheduled for approval Wednesday, will enable the EU to defrost funds held by other Russian banks which are necessary to produce food and fertilizer. 

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As well as adding new goods to existing lists in a bid to crack down on sanctions evasion, Wednesday’s package adds 50 new names to the EU’s blacklist, including military commanders and politicians. The Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin, as well as a few Ukrainian citizens appointed by Russia in various positions within the government in territories it holds in Ukraine are among these. 

Names are given for relatives of Russian businessmen, actors Sergey Bezrukov (and Vladimir Mashkov) and Aleksandr Zaldostanov (the leader of Night Wolves’ biker club). Zaldostanov’s club was founded after the collapse of the USSR and has grown into a patriotic movement that holds rides in support of President Vladimir Putin and against the Western-backed Maidan coup in Ukraine. 

Prior to its adoption, this latest round penalty was described as an “adjustment” by the European Commission. “maintenance and alignment”Package to close loopholes in the existing lists and align EU with other Western allies regarding gold imports.

Imports of energy were subject to no new restrictions. The EU has begun to prepare a variety of measures, which include mandatory rationing, to reduce Russia’s gas consumption by 15%. “involuntary”Higher prices lead to domestic usage declines

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