EU states agree on 14th sanctions package against Russia, say diplomats

The sanctions include a ban on trans-shipments, which is the first restriction the bloc has applied to liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Last Updated : 20 June 2024, 17:25 IST

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Brussels: European Union countries agreed on a 14th package of sanctions against Russia over its war in Ukraine, diplomats said on June 20, including a ban on re-exports of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) in EU waters.

Belgium, which holds the rotating EU presidency until July 1, said on the X platform that the package "maximises the impact of existing sanctions by closing loopholes".

Countries debated the new measures for over a month and ultimately watered down one of the Commission's proposals, aimed at preventing even more circumvention, at Germany's prompting.

The dropped measure would have forced subsidiaries of EU companies in third countries to contractually prohibit the re-exports of their goods to Russia. The EU is keen to stop the flow of dual-use technology such as washing machine chips that could be used by Russia for military purposes.

An EU diplomat said Germany had asked for an impact assessment, and the measure could be included at a later date.

The ban on trans-shipments is the first restriction the bloc has applied to LNG. However, gas market experts say the measure will have little impact as Europe is still buying Russian gas itself, and trans-shipments via EU ports to Asia represent only around 10 per cent of total Russian LNG exports.

The package also tightens measures against the shadow fleet moving Russian oil outside the price cap on Russian crude set by the Group of Seven (G7) nations. EU countries added tankers to the list of sanctioned entities as well as at least two Russian-owned ships moving military equipment from North Korea, diplomats said.

Moscow and Pyongyang have grown closer since Russia's February 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine. This week, the two countries agreed to provide immediate military assistance if either faces armed aggression in a pact reached after Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Pyongyang.

Overall, 47 new entities and 69 individuals were added to the EU sanctions list, bringing the total to 2,200. The package is expected to be formally approved when EU foreign ministers meet on Monday, diplomats said.

Published 20 June 2024, 17:25 IST

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