EU strikes back at Russians: New sanctions for paying for gas in rubles
European Commission prepares new sanctions against the Kremlin due to the Russian attack on Ukraine, EU sources told Reuters.Source: Reuters
The magnitude of the new measures depends on Moscow's stance on gas payments in rubles.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin has said he wants "unfriendly" countries, including EU states, to pay their gas bills in rubles, a request rejected by Western nations.
The new package of EU sanctions could be ready as early as next week, two sources said.
"The executive Commission is consulting with EU governments on a "compliance package," they said. This would apply what European leaders agreed at a summit last week about ensuring that existing sanctions are not by-passed, especially those against blacklisted individuals", Reuters said.
Officials have repeatedly said sanctions against oligarchs could be circumvented using family members, cryptocurrencies, trusts and shell companies in offshore jurisdictions.
Other sanctions imposed by the EU are harder, if not impossible, to evade. These include the freezing of assets held by the Russian central bank in the EU, the exclusion of Russian banks from the SWIFT banking system, and a ban on EU companies exporting high-tech products to Russia.
What will be eventually proposed is still under discussion, but sources said that far stricter sanctions could be added to the new package if Putin insisted on r
One of the EU sources said the possible EU reaction would hinge on the timing and details set by Moscow for gas payments.
An EU source said that if Putin remains true to his words on ruble payments, that could result in Russia effectively imposing a ban on its own natural gas exports.
The EU has so far refrained from banning any fossil fuel imports from Russia because of member states' heavy reliance on them.
Only a ban on coal was provisionally included in a list of possible sanctions earlier this year, but it never made it into sanctions because Germany struck it down, EU sources told Reuters last week.