EU preparing new sanctions against Russia over Ukraine war

The European Union member states are preparing to introduce additional sanctions against Russia as the second anniversary of the Ukraine conflict approaches, the Financial Times has reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.

The 13th package of restrictions will reportedly involve new travel bans and asset freezes targeting Russian businesses and individuals allegedly linked to Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine. However, it will likely also include a long-delayed agreement on a €50 billion ($54.5 billion) support package for Kiev, along with another €5 billion in annual military assistance. Sources told the news outlet that a decision to set aside the income generated by Russia’s frozen assets in the EU may also be included in the package.

”It’s money, weapons and sanctions at a time when we recognize [the Ukrainians] need encouragement. But two years in, there are limits to what we can do,” an unnamed EU diplomat told the FT.

The new sanctions, however, are unlikely to include a ban on Russian aluminum imports, nor target Russia’s nuclear fuel and liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, due to a lack of consensus among the member states regarding these measures, sources claimed.

The EU has imposed 12 rounds of sanctions on Russia since the outset of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in February 2022. The measures have been aimed at weakening the country’s economy and making it unable to fund its military operation. However, despite Russia suffering a downturn in the first year of the hostilities, its economy has since stabilized, largely due to timely fiscal policy changes and the re-direction of most of the country’s trade to Asia.

Moscow has repeatedly called the sanctions “illegal”, but noted that they have so far proved unsuccessful. According to Valentina Matvienko, the speaker of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, the country will continue to withstand sanctions pressure despite Western attempts to destabilize it.

”We need to be aware that the illegal sanctions pressure on our country will not disappear – it will last for a long time. For every success of ours, for every achievement, our opponents will try to respond with new restrictions, bans, even acting to their own detriment… But everyone already understands that their main goal, their dream – to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia – is not destined to come true,” Matvienko stated at a parliamentary meeting on Wednesday.

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