EU approves ‘massive’ sanctions on Russian banks and imports following Ukraine invasion


Topline

The European Union agreed early Friday morning to impose sweeping sanctions on Russian banks and the energy industry, the latest Western sanctions imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.

Highlights

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called the bloc’s sanctions on Russia “massive and targeted” in a press conference.

The European Union plans to sanction many Russian banks and state defense companies, von der Leyen said, a move it says will restrict Russia’s access to European capital markets and increase its borrowing costs.

Von der Leyen said a package of EU export bans would make it “impossible” for Russia – whose economy relies on oil revenues – to upgrade its oil refineries and prevent airlines Russians to purchase spare aircraft parts and equipment.

The bloc will also limit exports of semiconductors and other technologies to Russia, matching a similar export ban unveiled by the United States on Thursday.

Some wealthy Russians will also be subject to sanctions: the European Union plans to limit Russian bank deposits to prevent Russian elites from stashing their money in Europe, and Russian diplomats and businessmen will have their privileged visas withdrawn. EU.

Key context

Western countries rushed to sanction Russia after President Vladimir Putin launched a massive attack on Ukraine on Thursday. US President Joe Biden has unveiled “tough” sanctions that will limit Russian imports of US technology and make it difficult for some of Russia’s biggest banks to do business in the United States. The UK also plans to freeze the assets of Russia’s second largest bank, ban Russian airline Aeroflot from operating in the country and target certain Russian elites. Countries like Australia and Japan have also implemented financial sanctions.

Tangent

Western countries have yet to announce their intention to cut off Russian banks from SWIFT, a global platform that financial institutions use to communicate with each other. Biden did not rule out cutting off Russia’s SWIFT access in the future, but said some European countries were reluctant. Nor has the West sanctioned Putin personally.

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