Tuesday

14th Jul 2020

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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.

News in Brief

  1. Croatia opens for US tourists, defying EU ban
  2. Poll: only 61% of Germans would get Covid-19 vaccine
  3. UK to spend €788m on new UK-EU border control system
  4. Berlin wants first use of EU cyber sanctions on Russia
  5. Erdogan warns neighbours over hydrocarbon reserves
  6. Bulgaria: political crisis amid anti-corruption protests
  7. Pope and Turkish-German leader join Hagia Sophia protest
  8. France and UK create joint migrant intelligence unit

Opinion

Entering a new, more Putin-like, Russia

The so-called "all-Russia" vote finishing today, with more than 200 amendments to the Russian constitution, has been marked by systematic electoral fraud, mass mobilisation of the administrative resources, populistic promises or exploiting the historical memory.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Poland's EU-battles to continue as Duda wins tight vote
  2. EU 'in-person' summit plus key data privacy ruling This WEEK
  3. Let's have positive discrimination for EU stagiaires
  4. We need to do more for our small and medium-sized enterprises
  5. Romania's virus surge prompts queues and new worries
  6. Michel lays out compromise budget plan for summit
  7. Border pre-screening centres part of new EU migration pact
  8. EU 'failed to protect bees and pollinators', report finds

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us