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EU Executive Proposes New Sanctions On Russia, Including Import Ban On Gold

July 16, 2022

The European Union has targeted Russian gold exports in a seventh package of sanctions proposed by the European Commission on July 15.

The commission's proposal slaps a ban on Russia's gold exports into the bloc as part of efforts to align EU sanctions with the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialized nations and other international partners.

The G7 in June announced a ban on imports of Russian gold, a move aimed at Russian oligarchs and Russian President Vladimir Putin's war machine. The British government said at the time that exports of Russian gold last year totaled more than $15 billion.

Six previous rounds of EU sanctions have targeted Russia's economy, financial system, central bank, top government officials, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle. The last one passed in June imposed a ban on most Russian oil imports.

The new measures come as "Russia's brutal war against Ukraine continues unabated," said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in a statement.

"We are proposing today to tighten our hard-hitting EU sanctions against the Kremlin, enforce them more effectively, and extend them until January 2023. Moscow must continue to pay a high price for its aggression," she added.

Maros Sefcovic, deputy head of the European Commission, said ahead of a meeting of European affairs ministers held by the Czech Presidency of the EU in Prague that the EU would also seek to "close all exit routes for those wanting to bypass the sanctions" in the proposed update.

"It is, of course, a very complex mechanism, so we need to not only set up but also check, monitor, and close the places that would create platforms for an exit in some way," he said.

He waved aside any thoughts of fatigue among EU members helping Ukraine since Russian troops invaded on February 24 under Putin's orders.

"Even though it's really difficult, we will continue because it's the Ukrainians fighting for their freedom who are in the most difficult situation," Sefcovic said.

The commission also stressed that the measures "do not target in any way the trade in agricultural products between third countries and Russia."

The U.S. Treasury Department on July 14 issued a fact sheet "to further clarify" that the United States has not imposed sanctions on agricultural commodities, including fertilizer, agricultural equipment, or medicine relating to Russia.

The proposed EU sanctions package strengthens the "effectiveness of the EU's six wide-ranging and unprecedented packages of sanctions against Russia," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Twitter.

Borrell said he would present new individuals to be listed for EU sanctions that freeze any assets they hold in the EU and ban travel in the 27-member union.

The commission's proposals will be discussed at a meeting of EU foreign ministers on July 18. EU governments must still sign off on the measures.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishyna on July 14 urged the EU to keep hitting Russia with new sanctions.

"We hope the next, seventh package of sanctions will have a strong restrictive potential and will be taken without further delay and as soon as possible," said Stefanishyna.

With reporting by dpa and Reuters

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-gold-european-union- sanctions-ukraine-war/31946056.html

Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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