EU agrees to increase sanctions on Russia, targets Belarus central bank

Brussels, Mar 9 (EFE).- The European Union on Wednesday approved a fourth round of sanctions on Russia and its ally Belarus, in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The new measures agreed by leaders of the bloc’s 27 member states will see 14 oligarchs and 146 members of the Russian Federation Council blacklisted, transactions with the Belarusian central bank frozen and three other Belarusian banks cut off from the international SWIFT communications payment system.

Furthermore, the representatives of the EU member states also endorsed sanctions directed at the Russian maritime sector, the rotational presidency of the Council of the EU, currently held by France, tweeted.

The restrictions, whose function is to “complement and align” the three rounds of sanctions already adopted and in force, clarify the issue of crypto-assets and complete the list of technologies and goods that cannot be exported, added the French presidency.

EU diplomats decided to also ban the listing and provision of services in relation to shares of Belarus state-owned entities on EU trading venues starting April 12.

They agreed to limit accepting deposits exceeding 100,000 euros from Belarusian nationals or residents to the EU, and clarified that crypto-assets fall under the scope of “transferable securities.”

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, the EU has expelled seven Russian banks from the SWIFT system.

It also froze the Russian Central Bank’s assets on EU territory, sanctioned Russian president Vladimir Putin and foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, among other senior government officials, as well as the country’s military leadership.

It also imposed an airspace ban on any aircraft operated by Russian airlines, approved a trade embargo on several sectors of strategic importance to the Russian economy, and suspended EU transmission activities by Russian state media Sputnik and Russia Today.

Since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and recognized the independence of the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, the EU has sanctioned 840 people and 53 entities.EFE


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