EU proposes new ‘biting’ sanctions against Russia

Oil price cap was among suggested measures to hit Moscow even harder, says Ursula von der Leyen

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed new anti-Russian sanctions on Wednesday. These included tighter trade restrictions, more individual blacklists and an oil price cap for third countries.

« We are proposing a new package of biting sanctions against Russia », von der Leyen was quoted by Reuters as saying during a press briefing. She explained that the proposed package, the eighth of its kind, will further restrict trade to « isolate and further hit the Russian economy. »

According to the EU chief, the new import ban would cost Russia 7 billion euros ($6.7 billion) in lost revenue. The bloc would also expand the list of banned exports « to deprive the Kremlin war machine of key technologies. » The package would include additional export bans on key technologies used for the military, such as aviation items, electronic components and specific chemicals.

According to the proposal, European companies would not be allowed to provide more services to Russia and European citizens would not be allowed to sit on the boards of Russian state-owned companies.

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Russian economic forecasts improve markedly

The new sanctions will need to be unanimously approved by all 27 EU member states before they can be imposed. However, the bloc has been split on the issue of oil price caps, with strong opposition from some EU countries, including those whose powerful shipping industries make big money shipping Russian oil.

The EU has already adopted seven sanctions packages against Russia, targeting the country’s financial sector, individuals and entities, and Russian coal and gold, among others. Meanwhile, last week Russia’s Economy Ministry announced that, despite the Western sanctions regime, Russia’s GDP decline is expected to be much smaller than previously thought. In an improved outlook, the ministry now sees the economy contracting 2.9% this year from 4.2% projected earlier in August. The country’s economy is expected to grow by 2.6% in 2024-2025, driven by strong domestic consumption and investment demand.

Senior government officials had previously said the economy was holding up better than expected in the face of Western sanctions.

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