Wednesday

13th Dec 2017

EU names 24 new people, 14 firms in Russia sanctions

EU countries have added Russia’s top oil firms, an oligarch, and a leading nationalist MP to their blacklist.

The names were published in the bloc’s Official Journal on Friday (12 September) in reaction to Russia’s invasion of east Ukraine last week.

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  • Rosneft oil exploration project in the Arctic (Photo: rosneft.com)

The new regulation forbids EU entities from buying debt with a 30 or more day maturity, issuing loans, or selling financial services to five banks, three oil firms, and three defence companies.

The banks, already named in an earlier ban on 90-day bonds, are: Gazprombank; Rosselkhozbank; Sberbank; VEB; and VTB.

The newly named oil firms are: Rosneft; Transneft; and Gazprom Neft. The newly sanctioned defence companies are: Oboronprom; United Aircraft Corporation; and Uralvagonzavod.

The regulation blocks the sale of “dual-use” items to eight more newly named defence and technology firms: Almaz Antey; Bazalt; Chemcomposite; Kalashnikov; Sirius; Stankoinstrument; Technologii Maschinostrojenija; Wysokototschnye Kompleksi.

It forbids EU entities from supplying services for Russian deep water, Arctic, or shale oil exploration, including: drilling; well testing; logging and completion services; and supply of specialised floating vessels.

It also imposes an asset freeze and visa ban on 24 people, bringing the total since the Ukraine conflict erupted in March to 119.

Ten of them are pro-Russia rebel chiefs in east and south Ukraine and in Crimea, including Donetsk region “prime minister” Aleksandr Zakharchenko, who recently co-signed a peace deal with Ukraine and Russia.

Twelve are Russian MPs who supported the war on Ukraine, including firebrand nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

The new blacklist also names Russian oligarch Sergey Chemezov and major-general Aleksey Naumets.

It says that Chemezov, who chairs the Rostec arms conglomerate, is a “close associate” of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and that one of his firms is now building an energy plant in Crimea, which Russia annexed in March.

It says Naumets “is the commander of the 76th airborne division, which has been involved in the Russian military presence on the territory of Ukraine”.

EU Council head Herman Van Rompuy noted in a statement on Thursday the EU will assess “before the end of the month” whether Russia’s peace deal with Ukraine is being implemented.

He added that “in the light of the review and if the situation on the ground so warrants” the EU will “amend, suspend or repeal the set of sanctions in force, in all or in part”.

The White House on Thursday said it will also publish details of new measures on Friday.

Its statement noted the decision "will deepen and broaden sanctions in Russia’s financial, energy, and defence sectors", adding, like the EU, that these can be "rolled back".

Russia has threatened to retaliate against Europe by banning EU airlines from flying over Siberia and by blocking exports of used cars. It has also started reducing gas supplies, hitting Poland and Slovakia this week.

Ukraine, Russia, and pro-Russia rebels agreed a ceasefire in Minsk on 5 September.

But sporadic shooting has continued, the rebels are still calling for independence, and some Russian forces remain inside Ukraine.

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