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EU Leaders Agree on a ‘Massive’ Package of Sanctions Against Russia

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European Union leaders agreed to impose a massive package of sanctions on the Russian Federation over its invasion of Ukraine. Economic restrictions hit the most important sectors of Russia’s economy.

“The package of massive and targeted sanctions European leaders approved tonight clearly demonstrates that it will have maximum impact on the Russian economy and the political elite. The new sanctions will hit five areas: the financial sector, the energy sector, the transport sector, export controls and visa policy,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a press conference following the urgent meeting of the European Council in Brussels.

She stated that 24 February was a moment of truth for Europe.

“Today, bombs are falling on innocent women, men, and children. They fear for their lives, and many die. All this is happening in 2022, in the heart of Europe. President Putin has chosen the path to returning the war to Europe. This is a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which raises the fundamental question of our order of peace… Today, European leaders were completely united in condemning these horrific and unprovoked attacks,” said von der Leyen.

She clarified the content of certain areas of EU sanctions policy against the Russian Federation.

Financial sanctions block Russia’s access to the most important capital markets. This covers 70% of the Russian banking market, as well as key, state-owned companies, including defence ones. This will increase inflation and will gradually “erode” Russia’s industrial base.

The European Union also targeted financial sanctions against Russia’s “elite” and blocked their deposits so that they can no longer hide their wealth in safe havens in Europe.

Energy sector. This is a key economic area that is particularly beneficial to the Russian state. The ban on exports will affect the oil industry, as it will make it impossible for Russia to upgrade its refineries.

Ban on the sale of all spare parts for aircraft and equipment for Russian airlines. This will lead to the degradation of a key sector of the Russian economy, and will affect transport links within the country.

Restricting Russia’s access to key technologies necessary for sustainable development, such as semiconductors or the latest technological advances.

Visa policy. Russian diplomats and related groups and business people will no longer have privileged access to the European Union

The President of the European Commission stressed that all these activities were closely coordinated with close partners and allies – the United States, Britain, Canada and Norway, which were joined by South Korea, Japan and Australia.

“Our unity is our strength. The Kremlin knows this and it has tried its best to divide us, but it has utterly failed. It has achieved exactly the opposite,” von der Leyen said.

She also noted that those events really mark the beginning of a new era. Putin is trying to subjugate a friendly European country, and he’s trying to redraw the maps of Europe by force. He must — and he will — fail.

Bohdan Marusyak

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