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EU preparing 14th sanctions package against Russia this spring

by Martin Fornusek April 10, 2024 9:42 AM 2 min read
EU Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis.
EU Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis is talking to the media prior to an EU EcoFin Ministers meeting in the Europa building, the EU Council headquarters, on March 12, 2024, in Brussels, Belgium. (Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)
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The EU is readying its 14th package of sanctions against Russia, which should be adopted this spring, EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said at a conference in Brussels on April 9.

The European bloc has already adopted 13 packages in response to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, aiming to undermine Moscow's economic output and the ability to sustain the war.

"We have started preparing a 14th sanctions package, which should be adopted in spring," Dombrovskis said at the "Standing with Ukraine: European Parliament's legacy for the sanctions regime" conference of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) parliamentary group.

"It is likely to include an extensive list of restrictive measures with a strong anti-circumvention angle – in the maritime sector, for example, as Russia continues to try and violate the price cap for its oil exports," said the official who also serves as the EU Commission's executive vice president for economic and financial affairs.

The EU, the U.S., and the Group of Seven (G7) countries imposed a $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian seaborne oil in December 2022. While initially successful, Russia later managed to largely dodge the effects by using a "shadow fleet" of uninsured tankers. Kyiv's partners have been intensifying their efforts to enforce the cap.

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Dombrovskis warned that the space for additional restrictive measures "is becoming more limited" as talks among member states "are becoming more difficult."

For that reason, Brussels is shifting its focus on enforcing the standing measures and "closing loopholes" through which Russia manages to circumvent the sanctions, he said.

Dombrovskis noted that the current measures had an impact on Russia's economy. Russian ruble now lost more than 40% of its value from its peak in the summer of 2022, Russia's oil and gas exports were 24% down in 2023 compared to 2022, and the country's economy surplus decreased by 80% last year, he said.

The official added, however, that the sanctions' "short-term impact has been less pronounced than expected" and suggested additional steps to curb Russia's revenue, such as using frozen Russian assets or targeting the country's agricultural exports.

Both steps are currently under discussion in Brussels, though no definitive decisions have been taken so far.

The EU adopted its 13th sanctions package on Feb. 23, one day before the second anniversary of the full-scale invasion. The tranche targeted 106 individuals and 88 entities involved in Russia's aggression against Ukraine, including those from India, Sri Lanka, China, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Thailand, and Turkey.

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