The European Union on Wednesday agreed to impose additional sanctions on Russia and Belarus. Among other things, three major Belarusian banks were excluded from the Swift international payment system.
According to the EU, Belarus supported the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as the attack also took place from Belarusian territory. Residents of Belarus can no longer withdraw unlimited money from foreign bank accounts with more than 100,000 euros. In this way, the EU wants to limit the entry of money into the country.
Sanctions against Russia are getting tougher. Another 160 new people, including prominent businessmen and 14 Russian oligarchs, will be added to the sanctions list.
In total, the EU has now imposed sanctions on 862 individuals and 53 organizations. European Union leaders will discuss additional measures against individuals and banks on Thursday, Reuters news agency reported.
The new sanctions against Russia are also affecting international shipping. The European Union prohibits, among other things, the export of maritime navigation and radio communication technologies to Russian customers. Since every ship sailing at sea – from dredgers to superyachts – must have such equipment on board, this sanction amounts to a total ban on the sale of the vessel, according to a European Commission spokesman. Renting to Russian customers is also prohibited. It doesn’t matter whether a ship will sail under the Russian flag or under the flags of popular ‘flag nations’ like Cyprus and the Bahamas.
The EU also announced stricter rules for cryptocurrency transactions to prevent companies from continuing to trade in that way to avoid sanctions. The new sanctions have been coordinated with the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Not all countries within the EU share the opinion of the measure. Bloomberg news agency reported on Wednesday that Germany was blocking the exclusion of Russian banks from Swift’s payment system.
Documents seen by Bloomberg show that Germany urges the sanctions to be careful not to jeopardize Russia’s gas and oil supplies. But calls for tougher sanctions are getting louder – especially in Eastern European countries.
The value of the Russian ruble reopened 11 percent lower on Wednesday and has lost 42 percent of its value in two weeks. President Putin will hold talks with his government on Thursday about the impact of the economic sanctions.
Bank and Sanctions Page E4-5
A version of this article also appeared on NRC on the morning of March 10, 2022
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