6th Dec 2023

New EU sanctions on tech still being found in Russian weapons in Ukraine

  • Ukrainian forces have captured Russian kit containing European components, diplomats said (Photo: Lynsey Addario)
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The next round of EU sanctions on Russia will focus on banning trade in dual-use technologies still being used in Russian weapons systems in Ukraine, diplomatic sources have said.

EU ambassadors will meet to discuss the measures in Brussels on Wednesday (15 February) with a view to imposing them in time for the first anniversary of Russia's invasion on 24 February.

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The bulk of the package will be an export ban worth some €10bn a year on Western technology that has been found in Russian weapons and ammunition captured by Ukrainian forces in recent fighting, EU diplomatic sources said.

"We want to make sure European technology doesn't end up in Russian war-machines ... this material is hard to source elsewhere, such as China. It won't be easy to replace," an EU diplomat said.

The new sanctions package will also include a "long list" of individuals to face EU visa-bans and asset freezes.

"It will be a mix of Russian propagandists, MPs, military personnel, businessmen, and local politicians in Russia-occupied areas in Ukraine," a second diplomat added.

But it's unlikely to cover Russian exports of diamonds or nuclear technology to the EU, amid ongoing Belgian concerns about harming its diamond-trading centre in Antwerp as well as Hungarian objections to the energy move, diplomatic sources added.

The EU has already blacklisted 1,386 individuals and 171 entities over the past year, including Russian president Vladimir Putin and his close relatives.

It has also imposed price caps on Russian oil and gas, banned most purchases of Russian oil, and targeted Russian banks, energy firms, defence companies, aviation and shipping firms, and media.

"Russia's war chest is ... melting away," the EU Commission said in a sanctions impact-assessment last October.

"The EU oil and petroleum products embargo ... coupled with a multilateral 'oil price cap' will significantly dent Russian export revenues and further cloud the country's economic outlook," it said.

"There is no path out of economic oblivion for Russia as long as the allied countries remain unified in maintaining and increasing sanctions pressure against Russia," said a separate report by Yale University in the US in July last year.


Time to put Antwerp's Russian diamonds on EU sanctions list

The Antwerp diamond industry has managed to evade sanctions for nine European sanctions packages. They remain convinced that voluntary measures will suffice to eventually reduce the trade in Russian blood diamonds to zero. That's incomprehensible.


Sanctions and possible post-Brexit deal This WEEK

EU foreign affairs ministers will on Monday have an informal exchange with Ukraine's foreign affairs minister Dmytro Kuleba. They will also talk to Moldova's deputy PM, whose country has also accused Russia of meddling in its affairs.

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