Friday

23rd Jun 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.

Interview

EU visa waiver unlikely to import Ukraine crime

Visa-free travel, which began last week, unlikely to prompt a Ukrainian crime wave, an EU police expert has said, but Ukraine itself is seeing increases in lawlessness.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  2. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  3. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  4. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote
  5. Spain to command anti-smuggler Mediterranean force
  6. Estonia confirms opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline
  7. Ireland and Denmark outside EU military plan
  8. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  2. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  3. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  4. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  5. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  6. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  7. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  8. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  9. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  12. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move

Latest News

  1. Leaders unimpressed by May’s offer to EU citizens
  2. New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits
  3. EU extends sanctions on Russia
  4. UK's universities set 'Brexit wish list'
  5. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  6. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  7. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit
  8. EU pressures firms to tackle online terrorism