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Reuters: Next round of EU sanctions on Russia to target shadow fleet, ships transporting North Korean equipment

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 25, 2024 9:10 AM 2 min read
The Kriti King, a crude oil tanker entering the Bosphorus on Nov. 22, 2023, heading towards the Black Sea and the port of Novorossiysk, Russia. Photo for illustrative purposes. (John Wreford/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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The next round of EU sanctions against Russia is expected to target Russia's "shadow fleet" of oil tankers that transport oil above the $60 per barrel price cap and other cargo ships carrying North Korean military equipment to Russia, Reuters reported on April 25, citing a source from the EU.

EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said earlier in April that the bloc is preparing its 14th round of sanctions against Russia, which should be adopted in spring.

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 as part of the effort to cut Moscow's fossil fuels revenue.

While initially successful, Russia eventually 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.

Reuters reported that Russia's April oil and gas revenues will be almost double that of the same month last year, illustrating that Western sanctions targeting Moscow's oil and gas industries have not been as effective as hoped.

Russia has also countered its massive battlefield losses by increasing its military ties with other pariah nations, namely Iran and North Korea.

North Korea has been shaping up as Russia's leading weapons supplier, reportedly providing Moscow with extensive military packages, including ballistic missiles and over 3 million artillery shells.

While satellite imagery has suggested that North Korean military assistance has been flowing to Russia across their shared border in the far east, other deliveries have possibly been carried via cargo ship.

The 14th round of sanctions will also reportedly target 40 additional companies based in the United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, and China that allegedly sell dual-use technology to Russia.

Swedish Navy chief says Russian ‘shadow fleet’ of oil tankers possibly conducting espionage in Baltic Sea
Swedish Navy chief Ewa Skoog Haslum said some of the ships from the shadow fleet have been found to possess communications and signals equipment not usually associated with cargo vessels, leading to concerns they could be used in “hybrid operations.”
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