EU backpedaling on anti-Russian sanctions not to freeze in winter


On September 30th, the European Union may start revising sanctions against Russia. Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow did not decide yet how to respond to the possible move of the European Union to lift European sanctions against Russia.

"For the time being, there is no answer. We need to address this issue to the European Union," Dmitry Peskov said, reports.

By September 30, the EU foreign policy service will provide a report to permanent representatives as to how the Minsk peace plan is being implemented, and how ceasefire in the east of Ukraine is being observed, the press secretary of the head of European diplomacy Maya Kocijancic said.

Thereafter, permanent representatives may decide to gradually lift the previously imposed restrictive measures. Most likely, the sanctions will be lifted similarly to how they were imposed - in packages, a source of the Kommersant newspaper said.

On July 29, Brussels officially announced sanctions against Moscow - personal and sectoral ones - that were introduced for 12 months in connection with Russia's stance on Ukraine. On July 30, after being published in the Official Journal of the EU, sanctions against eight persons came into effect. According to the European Union, those people were responsible for the destabilization of the situation in the east of Ukraine.

The list included first deputy head of the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation Alexei Gromov, businessmen Arkady Rotenberg, Yury Kovalchuk, Nikolai Shamalov, Konstantin Malofeev, Interior Minister of Crimea Sergey Abisov, speaker of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk Boris Litvinov and spokeswoman for the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Luhansk Oksana Chigrina.

At the same time, the EU imposed sanctions on three Russian companies. The sanctions list included the Russian National Commercial Bank, Concern Almaz-Antei and Dobrolet Airline. July 31 saw the introduction of sectoral EU sanctions against five Russian banks - Vnesheconombank, VTB, Russian Agricultural Bank, Sberbank and Gazprombank. Citizens and companies of EU countries were prohibited from buying or selling, as well as providing financial services on the placement of new bonds, shares or similar instruments with a maturity of over 90 days, issued by the sanctioned banks. Other operations in the EU were not prohibited for those banks. EU's sectoral sanctions did not affect subsidiaries of Russian banks in the European Union.

Thus, at of today, the number of individuals and legal entities that are subject to restrictive measures of the European Union makes up 95 individuals and 23 legal entities.

On August 1, new European economic sanctions against Russia officially came into force. EU countries were prohibited from financing Russian companies, related to military activities. Imports, purchase and transportation of Russian arms, military equipment, military vehicles and spare parts by EU countries were banned. The ban did not affect imports of spare parts required for the maintenance and safety of the EU.

In addition, the EU imposed restrictions on the sale, supply, transfer or export of all goods and dual-use technologies that could be used for military purposes in Russia. The ban did not apply to non-military areas in aviation and aerospace industry. One will be required to obtain prior permission from competent authorities of EU member states - for export to Russia several types of equipment and dual-use technologies related to the energy sector.

Dual-use technologies and goods are listed in the decision made by the Council of the European Union from 5 May 2009 (about 200 pages). The prohibitions for the supply of arms, military equipment and dual-use goods do not apply to the contracts concluded before August 1. In addition, the EU imposed restrictions on shipments of equipment and technologies for oil extraction to the Russian Federation. In particular, the EU can not issue permits to export to Russia deep water oil production technologies, oil production in the Arctic region and shale oil extraction. The list of prohibited goods consists of 30 positions. It includes, in particular, several types of pipes and drilling equipment. Restrictions on oil production also apply to the contracts concluded before August 1, 2014.

For dual-use goods, exports can be allowed in certain cases. As for specific oil equipment, a total ban was introduced.

Meanwhile, the EU excluded the Russian gas industry from the sanctions, because several EU countries, especially in Eastern Europe, are highly, sometimes even 100 percent dependent on Russian gas. In addition, the EU Council, on July 30, introduced new restrictive measures in the field of trade and investment in the Crimea and Sevastopol. These restrictive measures include a ban on new investments in the Crimea and Sevastopol in infrastructure, transport, telecommunications, energy sector, in the production of oil, gas and mineral resources. It was also banned to supply equipment for those industries and provide insurance services.

EU officials said that the imposed sanctions may be mitigated or even lifted before the 12-month period, although they may also be expanded.

According to Russia's permanent representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov, the damage from the EU sanctions for EU economies is comparable to the damage that they cause to the Russian economy.


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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov