Brussels (dpa) – The 27 EU states have rolled out the fifth major package of Russia sanctions. The permanent representatives of the member states approved proposals by the EU Commission that include an import ban on coal, timber and vodka, as well as numerous other punitive measures. This was announced by the French EU Council Presidency on Twitter. One particular reason for the tough new sanctions against Russia is the discovery of war crimes in the vicinity of the capital Kyiv following the withdrawal of Russian troops.
The new punitive measures are intended to step up the pressure on Russia – above all by inflicting high economic costs on the country. According to the EU Commission, the coal embargo alone could mean around four billion euros in lost revenue per year. The sanctions package also includes a complete ban on transactions with four important Russian banks, including the second largest Russian bank VTB. Russian ships flying the Russian flag are also to be banned from entering EU ports. Exceptions will be made for the delivery of food, humanitarian aid and energy.
In order to further weaken the Russian economy, further restrictions are to be placed on trade with Russia, amounting to around 10 billion euros. According to the Commission, these will include quantum computers and means of transport. Imports into the EU of products such as timber, cement and seafood worth €5.5 billion will also be banned. Russian companies will also no longer be permitted to participate in public tenders in EU states.
In addition, further persons close to Russian President Vladimir Putin are to be added to the sanctions list. This means that they would no longer be allowed to enter the EU and any assets they have in the EU would be frozen. Among those affected are the two daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Meanwhile, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is on her way to Kyiv, where she plans to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Von der Leyen set off by train from south-eastern Poland to the Ukrainian capital on Thursday night. The former German defence minister is the first high-level Western politician to visit Ukraine since the war atrocities were discovered in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha.