War in Ukraine | European Union bans Russian coal, plans new military aid

(Brussels) The representatives of the Twenty-Seven decided on Thursday an embargo on Russian coal and the closure of European ports to Russian ships, as part of a fifth salvo of sanctions against Moscow, announced the French presidency of the Council of the EU.

Posted at 3:44 p.m.
Updated at 5:41 p.m.

At the same time, the EU has offered to increase funding to provide arms to Ukraine by 500 million euros, which would be increased to a total of 1.5 billion since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24 when Westerners expect an offensive on eastern Ukraine.

This sum is used to reimburse the supplies of armaments withdrawn by the Member States from their stocks. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba on Thursday urged the Allies to supply his country with more weapons “now” to repel the Russian army.

The “very substantial” sanctions package also provides for the banning of exports to Russia, in particular of high-tech goods, up to 10 billion euros, and the freezing of the assets of several Russian banks.

These new measures were proposed by the European Commission after the discovery of dozens of corpses of civilians last weekend in Boutcha, near Kyiv, which sparked a global shock wave and accusations of “war crimes” against Moscow .

This is the first time that the Europeans have hit the Russian energy sector, on which they are very dependent, particularly for gas. The EU imports 45% of its coal from Russia for a value of 4 billion euros per year. This embargo will come into force at the beginning of August, 120 days after the publication of the new package in the EU’s official journal expected on Friday.

The list of Russian products banned from importing into the EU is also extended to certain “raw materials and critical materials” for an estimated value of 5.5 billion euros per year, in order to stop the financing of the effort of Moscow war. The EU is also strengthening the arms embargo which was decided in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea.

Expanded blacklist

In addition, Russian and Belarusian road hauliers are now banned in the EU, the French presidency specifies in a series of tweets.

Sanctions also target “oligarchs, Russian propaganda actors […] and entities” linked to Russian aggression against Ukraine, according to the same source.

The Commission’s proposal submitted to the Twenty-Seven provides for an expansion of the EU blacklist to more than 200 names of individuals, including Russian oligarchs and the two daughters of Vladimir Putin, as well as 18 entities, according to a document consulted by AFP. The daughters of the Russian president were sanctioned by Washington on Wednesday.

Oligarchs or businessmen, close to Putin, such as Oleg Deripaska, Sergueï Tchémézov (Rostec), Boris and Igor Rotenberg, brother and son of the billionaire Arkadi Rotenberg, German Gref, the boss of the first Russian bank Sberbank, appear on this document because of their support for actions “that threaten the territorial integrity” of Ukraine. A Deripaska company that produces amphibious vehicles for the army is also targeted.

In addition, there are dozens of officials from the pro-Russian separatist republics of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Persons and entities on the European blacklist are sanctioned by a ban on entry into the EU and a freezing of their assets.

This list, created after the annexation of Crimea, contained before this fifth set of measures the names of 877 people and 62 entities. That of Vladimir Putin, whose assets are frozen, has been there since the end of February.

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