Brussels proposes to ban imports of Russian gold to EU countries, one of Russia’s great sources of income after hydrocarbons. The European Commission has proposed a new package of complementary sanctions on Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine that seeks to cover holes in the previous ones. To the veto of gold, a measure in line with the one adopted by the G-7 partners, which seeks to stifle more Russian sources of income, other notes are added that will strengthen the current measures. The Commission will also present new names to add to the list of people sanctioned for the war, which already adds up to a thousand. The Twenty-seven ambassadors are expected to discuss the package on Monday, which must be approved by all partners.
The new sanctions, which Brussels calls “maintenance and alignment” and which seek to avoid cracks that allowed them to wade through them, clarify their application and toughen the practice, introduce more trade restrictions on Russian machinery and elements that could help the country’s military and technological improvement. Eurasian or the development of its military sector, according to the document to which EL PAÍS has had access. “We propose to toughen the EU’s forceful sanctions against the Kremlin, apply them more effectively and extend them until January 2023,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. “Moscow must continue to pay a high price for its aggression.”
The complementary package clearly specifies that the export of agricultural products, food or fertilizers is not included in the sanctions; neither do humanitarian and essential exports. Now, Brussels also allows transactions to be made with certain state-owned companies if those exchanges are agricultural or transport oil to third countries, according to the text.
It is a measure designed, says the European Commission, to fight against food insecurity while the risk of famine in developing countries is an increasingly tangible reality as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The country is one of the world’s granaries, from which it is difficult to get the grain since the military aggression launched by the Kremlin and where the Moscow forces have been accused of looting the grain in the occupied territories. Pharmaceutical and health products are not included in the sanctions either, specifies the text of the sanctions regulation.
Brussels thus moves to talk about the real impact of the sanctions against Russia when several African countries have accused the EU of exacerbating the food crisis with its measures against Moscow for the invasion. This is an argument repeated by the Kremlin, which has increasingly close ties in countries such as the Central African Republic, Mali, Libya or Mozambique, where they have entered with force with propaganda operations, mercenaries and are making lucrative deals in mines and raw materials. .
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The veto on Russian gold follows the partial ban on oil imports from the Eurasian country, which, however, earns record amounts of foreign currency from the sale of crude oil. At the end of June, the G-7 countries already approved a ban on the import of the precious metal. According to UK calculations, this business accounted for some 15.5 billion euros for the Russian economy in 2021 – the Eurasian is the world’s second largest producer of gold – and had become a more valuable route for the Russian elite when it came to avoiding the impact of Western sanctions, according to London.