Tuesday

25th Apr 2017

EU threatens Russian oligarchs, as US hits banks and oil firms

  • Kremlin: The EU and US sanctions decisions came out within minutes of each other on Wednesday (Photo: Alex F)

EU leaders have threatened to go after Russian companies and oligarchs deemed to be helping the Kremlin wage its covert war on Ukraine.

They agreed at a summit in Brussels on Wednesday (16 July) to blacklist “entities, including from the Russian Federation, that are materially or financially supporting” the military campaign.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

They called for a “first list” of entities to be prepared “by the end of July”.

Their joint text also said they will “consider the possibility of targeting individuals ... who actively provide material or financial support” for top Kremlin officials involved in the events.

An EU diplomat told EUobserver: “This line means that, in the future, we can also start designating Russian oligarchs”.

The EU accord said two international banks - the EIB and EBRD - will block new projects in Russia.

The European Commission is also to suspend the vast majority of Russia grants and loans foreseen for 2014 to 2020 - a total of some €450 million, the EU diplomat noted.

The move is a jump forward from previous measures, which designated some 70 individuals directly involved in Ukraine events, such as pro-Russia rebel chiefs or Russian military commanders.

The decision came after sharp words from British, Lithuanian, German, and Swedish leaders on Russia’s refusal to take steps to calm the situation.

It also came moments after the US announced its new measures.

The US treasury on Wednesday locked some of Russia’s top energy firms and banks out of US financial markets.

The list includes: Russia’s biggest oil firm, Rosneft; its second largest gas company, Novatek; Gazprombank, the financial wing of its largest gas firm, Gazprom; and VEB, the bank which financed the Sochi winter Olympics.

It blocked US companies from doing any business with arms firms Bazalt; Kret; Sovezdie; Mashinostroyenia; Almaz-Antey; KBP; UVZ (the world’s largest maker of battle tanks); and iconic small arms producer Kalashnikov Concern.

It also imposed an asset freeze on four individuals, including a top Kremlin aide, Igor Shchegolev, and an intelligence chief, Sergey Beseda, said to be at the heart of Russia's Ukraine operations.

The US treasury noted that the firms have been cut off “from the US financial system and the US economy”.

US leader Barack Obama told press in Washington: “What we are expecting is that the Russian leadership will see once again that its actions in Ukraine have consequences, including a weakening economy, and increasing diplomatic isolation”.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov ignored the new EU measures.

But he told the Interfax news agency the US move is “outrageous and totally unacceptable”, adding that the Kremlin aims to take “acutely painful” countermeasures in response.

Investigation

Sex and lies: Russia's EU news

France and Germany have been targeted for years with fake news and lies designed to incite sexual revulsion toward migrants and the politicians who gave them shelter.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary's Orban will participate in EU parliament debate
  2. Malta floats cash-for-refugees plan
  3. Ivanka Trump to meet Merkel at Berlin women's conference
  4. Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in 20 years
  5. Nord Stream 2 to get €4.8bn from European energy firms
  6. Defeated Fillon retires from French politics
  7. Hollande: Vote Macron to avoid 'risk' for France
  8. Italy misses deadline on air quality warning

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  3. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  4. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  5. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  6. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  7. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  8. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  10. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  11. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  12. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children