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EU Prepares New, ‘Imminent’ Sanctions Against Russia

Minutes after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a new decree on retaliatory sanctions against the West, the European Union has announced a lineup of new sanctions on Russia targeting banking, oil imports and disinformation campaigns, Reuters reports. 

"We are working on the sixth package of sanctions which aims to de-SWIFT more banks, list disinformation actors and tackle oil imports," Josep Borrell, head of the foreign policy unit at the EU's executive European Commission, said in a tweet.

The EU adopted its fifth round of sanctions against Russia in early April. This will be the sixth round, if approved. 

The bloc has already blacklisted several Russian banks from SWIFT–the world’s key financial messaging services that enables secure transactions–and is now gearing up to add Russia’s biggest lender, Sberbank, to the exclusion list. 

Among the sanctions is expected to be a controversial ban on Russian oil imports by the end of this year.

Details on the new sanctions are expected to be released Wednesday and will then need to be approved by 27 member states. According to the Wall Street Journal, details of the sanctions could be released later on Tuesday. 

European Council president Charles Michel says the sanctions are “imminent” in order to “break the Russian war machine”. 

“Our goal is simple: we must break the Russian war machine. And I am confident that the council will imminently impose further sanctions, notably on Russian oil,” the Guardian quoted Michel as saying. 

Hungary and Slovakia, in particular, remain opposed to a Russian oil ban, though the bloc has reportedly considered exemptions or some sort of timeline relief for both countries. Slovakia insists it needs up to six years to be able to replace Russian oil, while Hungary says it cannot support an oil embargo at all. 

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on May 03 2022 said:
    But more Western sanctions particularly on Russian oil exports to the EU won’t break the Russian war machine because they will lead to higher oil and energy prices thus benefiting the Russian economy. Instead, they are harming the economies of those who imposed them.

    The EU is letting its hatred of Russia cloud its sanity but it’s the EU economy which will pay the price not Russia. The rest of the world including the world’s largest and third-largest economies based on purchasing power parity (PPP) China and India is open to Russia while the EU will be forced to pay an extremely heavy export bill for oil if it is able to find a replacement to Russian oil supplies.

    Moreover, banning Russian oil supplies could lead to a division within the EU and an eventual fracturing of it with Slovakia and Hungary already expressing opposition to a Russian oil ban. Slovakia says it needs up to six years to be able to replace Russian oil while Hungary says it cannot support an oil embargo at all. A veto by either one or both could sink the EU plans to ban Russian oil.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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