Oil, investments, asset freeze: the main sanctions against Russia

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The sanctions adopted by Western countries against Russia for the war in Ukraine range from an embargo on oil imports to the freezing of assets.

The European Union, which has been widely criticized for not cutting its imports of Russian oil, reached an agreement on Monday to cut most of its purchases by the end of the year, but exempted Hungary.

Around 90% of Russian oil exports to the EU will stop, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The bloc had already planned to cut two-thirds of its imports of Russian gas by the end of the year and established a ban on Europeans making new investments in this essential sector for the Russian economy.

Russian coal purchases will cease in August.

Another symbolic decision is the suspension of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that was built to increase Russian gas sold to Germany.

Britain has pledged to stop Russian coal imports by the end of the year, just as it has promised to do with Russian crude and oil products.

The United States, for its part, has imposed an embargo on imports of Russian oil and gas.

The European Union closed its ports to Russian ships and vetoed the movement of trucks from Russia and Belarus.

The airspace of EU members, as well as the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland, has already been closed to Russian planes and several airlines have suspended their flights to Russia.

The aeronautical industry is the most affected with the ban on the export of aircraft, spare parts or equipment and the suspension of maintenance of the aircraft registered in Russia of the giants Airbus and Boeing.

In May, the UK also banned major Russian airlines, including Aeroflot, from selling their vacant slots at airports.

The European sanctions provide for the restriction of exports to Russia of cars and luxury goods, such as watches, but also semiconductors and high-tech equipment.

The list of Russian imports banned by EU countries was expanded to include steel products, cement, rubber products and wood.

Russia’s iconic vodka and high-end seafood have also been banned in Europe and the United States.

The two blocs also revoked the trade status of Russia and Belarus, depriving them of the “most favored nation” clause and imposing punitive tariffs on their exports.

After prohibiting Russia from paying its debt with dollars deposited in US banks, the US Treasury in May prohibited Moscow from paying its debts in dollars, making a default likely.

Washington also imposed the freezing of all its assets “in contact with the US financial system” on the main Russian bank, Sberbank.

On Monday, the EU announced the exclusion of this Russian giant from the international banking system SWIFT, an essential mechanism of international finance that allows fast and secure communication and transactions.

Before, it had already excluded the main banks of the country from that system.

The United States and the EU, followed by other countries, have banned all transactions with the Russian central bank and frozen its foreign currency assets.

Hundreds of Russian personalities have been sanctioned including the two daughters of President Vladimir Putin, who are blacklisted by the United States, the EU and the United Kingdom.

On Monday, the EU extended its blacklist to around 60 people, including the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, who are now banned from entering the EU and their assets are frozen.

The Russian president himself is subject to sanctions, as is his counterpart Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and the chairman of the Russian state oil company Rosneft, Igor Sechin.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, London claims to have sanctioned more than a thousand people, including oligarchs, and 100 entities.

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