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Coal, investments, port closures: update on sanctions targeting the Russian economy

Embargo on coal, new investments prohibited, European ports closed to Russian ships: here is the point on the economic sanctions taken by the Europeans and the Americans against Russia since the beginning of the war.

The European Union (EU), some member states of which are very dependent on Russia for energy, finally decided on Thursday evening to stop its purchases of coal from the Russian Federation as of August (45 % of its coal imports).

The Twenty-Seven had already planned to reduce their Russian gas imports by two thirds by the end of the year, and they forbid Europeans from making new investments in this essential sector for Russia.

Another symbolic decision: the suspension of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which was to increase deliveries of Russian gas to Germany.

The United Kingdom pledged on Wednesday to stop imports of Russian coal, but by the end of the year, as it had already promised to do for Russian crude and petroleum products.

The United States imposed an embargo on Russian oil and gas imports in early March.

The EU announced Thursday evening to close its ports to Russian ships. Russian and Belarusian road hauliers have also been banned from operating in the EU.

The airspace of NATO and EU members was already closed to Russian planes and many airlines suspended flights to Russia.

The aeronautics industry is more widely concerned: ban on exports of aircraft, spare parts or equipment, cessation of maintenance of aircraft registered in Russia by Airbus and Boeing, prohibited access to insurance and reinsurance services at London.

The fifth package of European sanctions adopted Thursday provides for the ban on exports to Russia, in particular of high-tech goods, up to 10 billion euros.

The list of Russian products banned from importing into the EU has also been extended to certain “raw materials and critical materials” for an estimated value of 5.5 billion euros per year.

Shortly before the announcement of the new European sanctions on Thursday, the American Congress had revoked the commercial status of Russia and Belarus by depriving them of their clause of “most favored nation”enough to impose punitive customs tariffs on imports from the two countries.

Imports simply banned by the United States with regard to seafood, vodka and Russian diamonds.

On Wednesday, the United States had banned all new investment in Russia, and the United Kingdom all new British investment in the country.

Since Monday, the US Treasury has banned Russia from repaying its debt with dollars held in US banks, forcing Moscow to settle a $649.2 million debt in rubles and raising the threat of a default. of payment. Washington also imposed this week on the Russian banking establishments Sberbank and Alfa Bank the freezing of all their assets “in contact with the American financial system”.

The United Kingdom has so far frozen $350 billion in foreign currency from the Russian regime, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss calculated on Tuesday.

The United States and the EU, followed by other countries, banned all transactions with the Russian Central Bank and immobilized its foreign currency assets.

Another severe blow: the exclusion of the country’s main banks from the Swift interbank system, an essential cog in global finance that allows transactions to be communicated quickly and securely.

Hundreds of Russian personalities have been sanctioned, including two daughters of President Vladimir Putin, targeted in turn by Washington and Brussels.

The EU extended its blacklist on Thursday to 18 entities and more than 200 additional personalities, now sanctioned by a ban on entering the EU and the freezing of their assets.

Vladimir Putin himself was already targeted by sanctions, like his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, or Igor Sechin, the boss of the oil company Rosneft.

According to a statement provided Wednesday by the British government, London, for its part, sanctioned a total of 82 oligarchs weighing 170 billion pounds sterling (200 billion euros) as well as 18 banks representing 940 billion pounds of assets (1,120 Billions of Euro’s).

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