Wed. Mar 22nd, 2023

Brussels, 28 September 2022

Press statement by President von der Leyen on a new package of restrictive measures against Russia


We wanted to present together the eighth package of sanctions. Last week, Russia has escalated the invasion of Ukraine to a new level. The sham referenda organised in the territories that Russia occupied are an illegal attempt to grab land and to change international borders by force. The mobilisation and Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons are further steps on the escalation path.

We do not accept the sham referenda nor any kind of annexation in Ukraine. And we are determined to make the Kremlin pay for this further escalation. So today, we are together proposing a new package of biting sanctions against Russia.

The first part concerns the listing of individuals and entities that will be presented by the HR/VP, Josep Borrell, in a moment.

I want to focus on the second part of these sanctions that will further restrict trade. By that, we isolate and hit Russia’s economy even more. So we propose sweeping new import bans on Russian products. This will keep Russian products out of the European market and deprive Russia of an additional EUR 7 billion in revenues. We are also proposing to extend the list of products that cannot be exported to Russia anymore. The aim is here to deprive the Kremlin’s military complex of key technologies. For example, this includes additional aviation items, or electronic components and specific chemical substances. These new export bans will additionally weaken Russia’s economic base and will weaken its capacity to modernise. We will also propose additional bans on providing European services to Russia, and a prohibition for EU nationals to sit on governing bodies of Russian state-owned enterprises. Russia should not benefit from European knowledge and expertise.

The third complex is concerning Russian oil. As you know, Russia is using the profits from the sale of fossil fuels to finance its war. Concerning Russian oil, you might recall that we have already agreed to ban seaborne Russian crude oil in the European Union as of 5 December. But we also know that certain developing countries still need some Russian oil supplies, but at low prices. Thus, the G7 has agreed in principle to introduce a price cap on Russian oil for third countries. This oil price cap will help reduce Russia’s revenues on the one hand and it will keep global energy markets stable on the other hand. Today, in this package, here, we are laying the legal basis for this oil price cap.

And my last point that I want to focus on is: We are stepping up our efforts to crack down on circumvention of sanctions. Here, we are adding a new category. In this category, we will be able to list individuals if they circumvent our sanctions. So for example, if they buy goods in the European Union, bring them to third countries and then to Russia, this would be a circumvention of our sanctions, and those individuals could be listed. I think this will have a major deterring effect. Our sanctions have hit Putin’s system hard. They have made it more difficult for him to sustain the war. And we are increasing our efforts here and moving forward.

Source – EU Commission

Press statement by High Representative/Vice-President Borrell on a new package of restrictive measures against Russia

Brussels, 28 September 2022

Check against delivery!

Thank you, Madam President [of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen]. Good afternoon.

With the illegal “referenda” organised by Russia, the Kremlin is following the same playbook that we have already seen in Georgia in 2008 and in Crimea in 2014.

As the President has said, we condemn [these illegal “referenda”] in the strongest possible terms. I am sure that I can speak on behalf of the Member States of the European Union that none of them will recognise their falsified outcome, and we call on the international community to do the same, because these sham “referenda” are a pure violation of international law and the principles of the United Nations Charter.

We will continue supporting Ukraine. We stay on course. Our strategy is working, our sanctions are having a compelling effect.

As the President has explained, with the extension of the list of products that will be banned from export to Russia, we will continue weakening their military capabilities.

Also, from a personal [sanctions] point of view, we are increasing the listings of persons and entities which have been sanctioned. There are more than 1,300 people or entities. This list targets key decision makers, oligarchs, senior military officials and propagandists, responsible for undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

In direct response to the latest Russian escalation – for example, calling 300,000 soldiers to the war – we propose to adopt additional restrictive measures against those individuals who are supporting, facilitating or benefiting from the invasion of Ukraine.

Allow me, Madam President, to summarise the new package of individual designations that will target the following people:

First, those involved in Russia’s occupation and illegal annexation of areas of Ukraine. We propose to designate the proxy Russian authorities in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia and other Russian individuals who organised and facilitated the sham “referenda” in these four occupied areas of Ukraine.

Second, we propose a number of designations in the defence sector. This includes high-ranking officials of the Russian Ministry of Defence. Those who support the Russian armed forces by providing army equipment and weapons, including missiles and fighter aircraft, and participate in the recruitment of these 300,000 soldiers.

Third, we also continue to target actors who spread disinformation about the war – in particular, those spreading false information and donating funds to Russian occupied areas [of Ukraine].

In the category of economic actors, a lot of has been done already, but we will add further key operators. Among these operators, it will be – not necessarily Russians – but people who participate in the circumvention of sanctions. Because it is clear that there are some phenomena of circumvention of sanctions that have to be included in our listings. We are preparing the listings in order to also target these people.

Finally, it is also important to note that we extend the geographical scope of the restrictions applying to Crimea, to Donetsk and Luhansk that were approved at the beginning of the year. This will cover all non-government-controlled areas of Ukraine, including the oblasts of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson – which are not part of Donbas and were not part of the previous decisions.

I think, Madam President, that with that we complete our package of sanctions.

Sanctions work, sanctions matter but they have to be maintained over time and ensure that they are not circumvented.

Thank you.

Link to the video (starting as of 4:34):

Source – EEAS

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