EU revs up to impose twelfth package of sanctions on Russia

By bne IntelliNews September 20, 2023

The EU is gearing up to impose its twelfth package of sanctions on Russia as member states are due to meet and debate new punishments in October.

Eleven packages have been imposed to date, although the last package contained almost no new measures but attempted to enforce the previous ten packages more effectively.

The new package could contain sanctions on buying Russian diamonds for the first time, a major source of income for Russia, Bloomberg reported. Until now Belgium has vigorously lobbied against sanctions on diamonds, as much of Europe’s diamond trade is conducted in the Belgian city of Antwerp.

Sources also suggest that the EU is on the verge of approving a proposal to make use of the proceeds generated from the assets of some $300bn of frozen Russian central bank funds that could be sent to aid in the reconstruction of Ukraine.

Certain EU member states, notably Poland and the Baltic countries, are pushing for intensified sanctions against Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) and IT services.

Additionally, they seek to impose restrictions on Russia's nuclear sector. However, these proposals face limited support from other member states, as Russia remains the major supplier of nuclear fuel to the rest of the world. The US recently admitted that it had doubled imports of Russian nuclear fuel and was at least five years away from ending its dependency.

The forthcoming package will also incorporate more measures to counter Russia's efforts to circumvent EU sanctions by conducting trade through third countries, including the UAE and Turkey.

According to reports, the new package of sanctions may be formally adopted in the first half of October or during the EU-US summit scheduled for the same month. The EU's determination to strengthen sanctions reflects its ongoing response to Russia's actions, particularly in light of the conflict in Ukraine.

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