EU plans Russia trade sanctions over ‘sham’ Ukraine votes

Sep 28, 2022, 8:26 AM | Updated: 8:55 am
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, left, and European Union foreign policy chief J...

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, left, and European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell address a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. The European Union's top diplomat says the bloc suspects that damage to two underwater natural gas pipelines was sabotage and is warning of retaliation for any attack on Europe's energy networks. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

(AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union countries should impose “biting sanctions” on Russian trade and hit officials responsible for “sham referendums” held in parts of Ukraine as Moscow ramps up the war, senior EU officials said Wednesday.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the Kremlin-orchestrated referendums on joining Russia “are an illegal attempt to grab land and change international borders by force.”

“We are determined to make the Kremlin pay for this further escalation,” she said, as she unveiled what she described as “sweeping new import bans on Russian products.”

“This will keep Russian products out of the European market and deprive Russia of an additional 7 billion euros in revenue,” von der Leyen told reporters in Brussels.

She said the EU’s executive branch also advises extending the bloc’s own export ban “to deprive the Kremlin’s military complex of key technologies,” including electronic components and specific chemical substances.

The proposals still must be endorsed by the bloc’s 27 countries.

Von der Leyen also said the EU should “lay the legal basis” for a price cap on Russian oil, without elaborating. The bloc already agreed to ban sea-borne crude starting Dec. 5, but some member countries still require Russian supplies at low prices.

Finance ministers from the Group of Seven industrial powers pledged this month to impose a cap on the price of Russian oil in a bid to limit the Kremlin’s revenues, while also curtailing the war’s impact on energy prices and inflation.

The ministers said they would impose the cap by barring insurance or shipping companies from helping Russia sell oil at prices above the set limit.

On top of that, von der Leyen recommended a ban on EU nationals sitting on the governing bodies of Russian companies, saying that “Russia should not benefit from European knowledge and expertise.”

People who help Russia to circumvent sanctions could also face sanctions themselves, under the proposal outlined Wednesday.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said asset freezes and bans on travel in Europe would be imposed on the “proxy Russian authorities” in the Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions. Officials there said Wednesday that they would ask President Vladimir Putin to incorporate their provinces into Russia.

Borrell said he also wants to target senior Russian defense ministry officials and those who support the armed forces by providing it with equipment and weapons, or who help to recruit the 300,000 reservists that Putin has called up.

“Sanctions work. Sanctions matter. But they have to be maintained over time and … not circumvented,” he said.

The European Commission has drawn up several rafts of sanctions against Russia since Putin launched an invasion of neighboring Ukraine seven months ago.

Banks, companies and markets have been hit — even parts of the sensitive energy sector – with asset freezes and travel bans slapped on over 1,200 officials.

But the hard work is yet to come. The economies of the EU’s 27 member countries have been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic are now struggling against high inflation, with skyrocketing electricity and natural gas prices. Sanctions are getting harder to agree as they also inflict damage at home.

The last round of sanctions was announced May 4 book took four weeks to gain bloc-wide approval as concerns over oil restrictions divided member countries. In July, rather than impose fresh measures, the EU adopted a “maintenance and alignment” package that mostly closed loopholes on sanctions already agreed upon.

The actions ultimately agreed on this time are likely to be less ambitious than the commission’s recommendations and imposed only after much debate and hand-wringing among the 27 countries in coming weeks.

Earlier Wednesday, an economic adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Oleg Ustenko, urged the EU to act as soon as possible, and in particular to ban all fossil fuels coming from Russia.

Ustenko said that the military call-up and Putin’s nuclear threats justify a “very strong” response.

“Around 50% percent of (Russia’s) budget revenues are coming from this sector,” Ustenko said. “Oil, gas, uranium, and coal. And all this should be banned. Everything related to their fossil fuels should be cut off. They should not get any penny out of these exports.”

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell addresses a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. The European Union's top diplomat says the bloc suspects that damage to two underwater natural gas pipelines was sabotage and is warning of retaliation for any attack on Europe's energy networks. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, right, arrives for the weekly College of Commissioners meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. The European Union suspects that damage to two underwater natural gas pipelines was sabotage and is warning of retaliation for any attack on Europe's energy networks, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen takes her seat prior to the weekly College of Commissioners meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. The European Union suspects that damage to two underwater natural gas pipelines was sabotage and is warning of retaliation for any attack on Europe's energy networks, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, left, and European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell address a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. The European Union's top diplomat says the bloc suspects that damage to two underwater natural gas pipelines was sabotage and is warning of retaliation for any attack on Europe's energy networks. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, left, and European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell address a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. The European Union's top diplomat says the bloc suspects that damage to two underwater natural gas pipelines was sabotage and is warning of retaliation for any attack on Europe's energy networks. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
            
              European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, center, arrives for the weekly College of Commissioners meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. The European Union suspects that damage to two underwater natural gas pipelines was sabotage and is warning of retaliation for any attack on Europe's energy networks, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

AP

Kristalina Georgieva, right, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), speaks  to...
Associated Press

AP Interview: IMF chief urges targeted COVID policy in China

BERLIN (AP) — It is time for China to move away from massive lockdowns and toward a more targeted approach to COVID-19, the head of the International Monetary Fund said days after widespread protests broke out, a change that would ease the impact to a world economy already struggling with high inflation, an energy crisis […]
7 hours ago
US army soldiers of 2nd Brigade of the 11th Airborne Division fires with Indian army soldiers pose ...
Associated Press

India, US armies hold exercises close to China border

AULI, India (AP) — Indian and U.S. troops on Tuesday participated in a high-altitude training exercise in a cold, mountainous terrain near India’s disputed border with China, at a time both countries are trying to manage rising tensions with Beijing. During the exercise, Indian soldiers were dropped from helicopters to flush out gunmen from a […]
7 hours ago
Associated Press

Millennial Money: 4 reasons for thrift store gifts this year

Thrifting is hot, and Goodwill finds are cool again. But while we’re thrilled to find the perfect throwback tee for our own closet, gifting used goods still carries a stigma for some. It shouldn’t. Secondhand gifts are better for your wallet, your community and the environment. “The planet is drowning in excess stuff,” says Lauren […]
7 hours ago
FILE - A worker in protective suit walks through the caution tapes along metal barricades retail sh...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: Why are China’s COVID rules so strict?

BEIJING (AP) — At the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China set out its “zero-COVID” measures that were harsh, but not out of line with what many other countries were doing to try and contain the virus. While most other nations saw the health and safety regulations as temporary until vaccines were widely available, however, […]
7 hours ago
In this photo provided by Fidelity Charitable, Fidelity Charitable President Jacob Pruitt is photog...
Associated Press

Fidelity Charitable: New grants to surpass deposits in 2022

Fidelity Charitable, the nation’s largest grantmaker, expects 2022 will be the first year since 2018 that the value of grants from its donor advised funds exceeds the value of investments going into the funds. Jacob Pruitt, Fidelity Charitable’s president, told The Associated Press that donations this year are on track to set a record, even […]
7 hours ago
A migrant laborer paints The Pearl Monument, a sculpture depicting an open oyster shell with runnin...
Associated Press

Qatar says worker deaths for World Cup ‘between 400 and 500’

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — A top Qatari official involved in the country’s World Cup organization has put the number of worker deaths for the tournament “between 400 and 500” for the first time, a drastically higher number than any other previously offered by Doha. The comment by Hassan al-Thawadi, the secretary-general of Qatar’s Supreme Committee […]
7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
EU plans Russia trade sanctions over ‘sham’ Ukraine votes