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UE and the United States introduced new sanctions against Russia

On Friday, 12 September, 2014, the EU new sanctions against Russia have entered into force. This is a result of the talks ended the day before between ambassadors of the EU Member States and the decision adopted on Monday, 8 September, 2014, which were not in effect due to the monitoring of the previously adopted statement on a ceasefire and a peace plan, as well as the related opposition from several EU countries, such as Austria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Finland, Slovakia, Sweden, Hungary and Italy. New sanctions were also adopted by the United States.

The new sanctions are to predominantly target Russian state-owned energy companies (Gazprom Neft; Rosneft and Transneft), military armament manufacturers (Oboronprom; United Aircraft Corporation and Uralvagonzavod) and banks (Gazprombank; Rosselkhozbank; Sberbank; VEB and VTB). The EU entities are forbidden to buy debt with a 30 or more day maturity, issuing loans, or selling financial services to all of them. In the case of the energy and defence sectors this type of sanctions were introduced for the first time, while the Russian state-owned banks already in August had been targeted by similar, but slightly milder sanctions. The sanctions forbid EU entities from supplying goods, services and technologies for Russian deep water, Arctic, or shale oil exploration.

Moreover, on eight defence and technology firms (Almaz Antey; Bazalt; Chemcomposite; Kalashnikov; Sirius; Stankoinstrument; Technologii Maschinostrojenija and Wysokototschnye Kompleksi), the embargo on so-called “dual-use” products has been extended.

Additionally, the list of persons banned entry to the EU and the freezing of assets went further 12 names of separatists and people connected with the annexation of the Crimea, as well as 12 Russian politicians and oligarchs. Among the most famous are, Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk – Aleksandr Zakharchenko, deputy of the RF State Duma and leader of the nationalist Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia – Vladimir Zhirinovsky, as well as oligarch and chairman of Rostec conglomerate – Sergei Chemezov. The EU list already consists of 119 people and 23 companies.

Unofficially it is said that the countries of Central and Eastern Europe – Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, which have been particularly in opposition to the introduction of new sanctions achieved their relaxation. For the Czech Republic it was a matter of export of parts for Russian machines, and in the case of Slovakia, to not put on the sanctions list the Russian defense minister Sergey Shoygu.

The President of the European Council – Herman Van Rompuy said that the EU will assess “before the end of the month” whether recent peace plan Ukraine-Russia-OSCE is being implemented. He added that “in the light of the review and if the situation on the ground so warrants” the EU will “amend, suspend or repeal the set of sanctions in force, in all or in part”.