Equilibrium & Sustainability

EU targets Russian coal in fresh package of sanctions

The European Commission announced on Tuesday that it would be imposing a ban on imports of coal from Russia as part of its latest package of sanctions against Moscow.

The ban, worth 4 billion euros ($4.4 billion) annually, “will cut another important revenue source for Russia,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement. As of 2020, the European Union relied on Russia for 19 percent of its coal, according to the European Commission’s Eurostat site.

While earlier media reports on Tuesday had suggested that the new package might include a ban on oil, the president only stated that the commission is “working on additional sanctions, including on oil imports.”

Noting that the four sanctions packages the E.U. has issued thus far “have hit hard and limited the Kremlin’s political and economic options,” von der Leyen stressed the need “to increase our pressure further.”

“Today, we are proposing to take our sanctions a step further,” she said. “We will make them broader and sharper, so that they cut even deeper in the Russian economy.”

This fifth package of sanctions contains five other pillars in addition to the coal ban, including a full transaction ban on four key Russian banks. Those four banks, which von der Leyen said would now be “totally cut off from the markets,” represent 23 percent of the Russian banking sector’s market share.

A third prong in the package is a prohibition of Russian and Russian-operated vessels from E.U. ports, aside from in certain cases covering essentials such as agricultural and food products, humanitarian aid and energy, the president’s statement said.

Another pillar in the package involves “targeted export bans” worth about 10 billion euros ($10.9 billion) in areas including quantum computing, advanced semiconductors and sensitive machinery.

“With this, we will continue to degrade Russia’s technological base and industrial capacity,” von der Leyen said.

The fifth embargo focuses on 5.5 billion euros ($6 billion) worth of specific new imports of products such as wood, cement, seafood and liquor. The aim of these sanctions, according to von der Leyen, is “to cut the money stream of Russia and its oligarchs.”

The final prong of the sanctions package includes “very targeted measures,” such as an E.U.-wide ban on the participation of Russian firms in public procurement in member states, as well as the exclusion of all financial support to Russian public bodies, the commission president explained.

Von der Leyen added that the commission is currently working on additional sanctions, including a ban on oil imports, and considering other ideas presented by E.U. member states, such as certain types of taxes.

“To take a clear stand is not only crucial for us in Europe, but also for the rest of the world,” von der Leyen said. “A clear stand against Putin’s war of choice. A clear stand against the massacre of civilians. And a clear stand against the violation of the fundamental principles of the world order.”

Tags European Commission European Union russia Russia sanctions Russia-Ukraine war Ursula von der Leyen Ursula von der Leyen

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