Brussels, Mar 14 (EFE).- The European Union on Monday approved a new sanctions package targeting Russia and its close ally Belarus over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Those new measures include financial restrictions and the inclusion of more members of Russia’s business and media elite on the EU’s black list.
“Approval of a fourth sanctions package in consultation with our international partners,” the French presidency of the Council of the European Union said on Twitter, referring to new measures that 27-nation bloc coordinated with the G7 group of industrialized nations.
Those measures will take effect in the coming hours after being published in the EU’s official gazette, diplomatic sources told Efe, adding that the targets of the sanctions include the owner of Premier League soccer club Chelsea, Roman Abramovich.
England’s top soccer league said Saturday that it had disqualified Abramovich as a director at Chelsea, a move that came after the United Kingdom’s government imposed sanctions on the Russian-born billionaire over his alleged ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The EU also will inform the World Trade Organization of its intention to suspend Russia’s most-favored-nation status across the Common Market and block Belarus’ attempt to join that global trade body.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted Friday that the EU also will work with its international partners to “suspend (Russia’s) membership rights in multilateral financial institutions like the IMF & World Bank – so no more loans or benefits from these institutions.”
She furthermore said the EU will seek to bar imports from Russia of key goods in the iron and steel sector and impose “a big ban on new European investments across Russia’s energy sector – from exploration to production.”
The EU moreover will take steps to prevent the Russian government and that country’s elites from using crypto assets to skirt earlier sanctions, Von der Leyen said.
Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were among those hit by Western countries with sanctions – including an asset freeze – just a day after Russia launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Among earlier steps taken by the EU since the start of Russia’s military action, that bloc has moved to prevent Russia’s Central Bank from deploying its international reserves in ways that undermine the impact of its sanctions.
It also has removed seven Russian banks and three Belarusian financial institutions from the SWIFT messaging system. EFE