The Council of the European Union has renewed economic sanctions against Russia for its aggression against Ukraine.
The sanctions imposed by the EU against Russia were extended for six months, until 31 July 2024.
These sanctions, first introduced in 2014 in response to Russia’s actions destabilizing the situation in Ukraine, were significantly expanded since February 2022 in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
“As long as the illegal actions by the Russian Federation continue to violate the prohibition on the use of force, which is a serious breach of obligations under international law, it is appropriate to maintain in force all the measures imposed by the EU and to take additional measures, if necessary,” the communiqué of the European Council stated.
The EU’s sanctions currently consist of a broad spectrum of sectoral measures, including restrictions on trade, finance, technology and dual-use goods, industry, transport, and luxury goods. The sanctions also include a ban on the import or transfer of seaborne crude oil and certain petroleum products from Russia to the EU, restriction of access to the SWIFT banking system for several Russian banks, suspension of the broadcasting activities and licenses of several “Kremlin-backed disinformation outlets.”
Additionally, specific measures were introduced to strengthen the ability of the EU to counter sanctions circumvention. In December 2023, the European Union implemented its most recent 12th sanctions package, which involved prohibiting the import of Russian diamonds, tightening controls on Russia’s procurement of military-use goods, and imposing stricter regulations on the $60-per-barrel price limit for oil.
The EU is preparing the next package of sanctions against Russia to mark the second anniversary of the outbreak of the Russian all-out war against Ukraine in February. Further restrictions may be applied to Russian aluminum exports. This would impact the Russian energy sector if the restrictions are approved. However, the EU’s stance on aluminum sanctions remains uncertain.
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