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Reuters: Germany holds up passage of new EU sanctions package on Russia

Germany’s hesitation was due in part to an internal disagreement between its foreign ministry and the chancellor’s office, diplomats and a source familiar with the matter said.
A German flag, illustrative image. Photo via Eastnews.ua.
A German flag, illustrative image. Photo via Eastnews.ua.
Reuters: Germany holds up passage of new EU sanctions package on Russia

According to sources close to Reuters, member states of the European Union failed to agree on a 14th package of sanctions on Russia as Germany remained a blocking force despite the scrapping of a clause that Berlin found problematic.

EU diplomats told Reuters that officials from the 27 EU countries have been debating the package for over a month. The new measures include a ban on Russian LNG trans-shipments and a plan to make EU operators responsible for sanctions violations by subsidiaries and partners in third countries.

Germany’s hesitation was due in part to an internal disagreement between its foreign ministry and the chancellor’s office, diplomats and a source familiar with the matter said.

The removed clause was an expansion of the so-called “No Russia clause” to subsidiary companies in third countries. The clause under article 12G was removed in a compromise text circulated to member states shortly before ambassadors met late on Wednesday afternoon, they said.

The clause would have forced these subsidiaries to “contractually prohibit re-exportation to Russia and re-exportation for use in Russia”, a draft of an earlier version of the package showed.

Ambassadors will continue the debate on Thursday 20 June, they said.

Circumvention via third countries

The EU has been continually ramping up sanctions on Moscow for its 2022 invasion of Ukraine but its efforts are being undermined by circumvention via third countries. The inclusion of this clause would have further tightened the bloc’s measures.

Countries which are known to have assisted in the circumvention of sanctions are China, Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Türkiye, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates, among others.

Through the circumvention of Western sanctions via third countries, Russia is able to fund and sustain its war against Ukraine. According to a report from the British government, sanctions have deprived Russia of over $400 billion worth of assets and revenues since February 2022, equivalent to four more years of funding for the invasion.

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