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It limits exports of beverages, vehicles or haute couture above 300 euros, prohibits ‘rating’ agencies from qualifying Russia and prohibits the import of steel products

A couple of women walk past a closed shop in Moscow.EFE

After a month of discussions, and after polishing the reticence of some of the main community exporters, the EU has shaped this Tuesday the fourth round of sanctions against Russia for the invasion of Ukraine. This package, agreed upon last Friday by the G7, aims for the first time at the luxury products, one of the sectors associated with the high pace of life of the oligarchs and ruling classes of Moscow. From now on, products above 300 euros, from champagne to designer shoes, including golf clubs or electronic devices, may not be sold to Russia. The same goes for vehicles (above 50,000 euros), motorcycles (5,000 euros), or musical instruments (1,500).

There are 20 categories in the annexes of the sanctions that have been published this Tuesday in the EU Journal, the European BOE. Each one with its thresholds so that it is clear that the punishment is for the most expensive products, but also “so that it affects the bulk of the population as little as possible,” according to community sources. Among the goods: horses, caviar and substitutes, truffles, wines, distilled beverages, tobacco, perfumes and cosmetic products, leather (bags), clothes and shoes. Likewise, pearls and precious stones and diamonds, coins and currencies, porcelain, crystals, electrical appliances, electronic devices for domestic use and recording devices (1,000 euros limit), image and sound. The list also includes clocks, musical instruments and works of art. As well as sports equipment, including ski, golf or polo.

This fourth block of sanctions establishes a total prohibition for European companies to maintain any type of commercial or financial transaction with the “military-industrial complex of the Kremlin”, and with nine specific companies or entities. “It is prohibited to carry out, directly or indirectly, any transactions with legal entities, entities or bodies established in Russia that are subject to public control or with more than 50% public ownership, or in which Russia, its Government or the Central Bank has the right to participate in the profits, or with which Russia, its Government or the Central Bank of Russia have another substantial economic relationship and legal persons, entities or bodies established outside the Union whose property rights belong directly or indirectly in more than 50% to an entity that appears in the annex,” says the published text.

Although the prohibition will not apply until May 15 for “contracts entered into before March 16, 2022, or accessory contracts necessary for the execution of said contracts.”

Iron, steel and steel products

The EU also vetoes imports of products from iron and steel and iron and steel productswhich could mean a blow of more than 3,000 million euros to the Russian coffers, according to calculations from Brussels

The energy issue is one of the most delicate. Today, investments in the energy sector have been further limited, with specific measures that, among others, also affect Gazprom, reducing new investments but without impeding exports of crude oil or gas. The energy dependency is overwhelming and the 27s are not ready to go that route.

The ambassadors have today given their approval to expand the number of oligarchs with names and surnames (Roman Abramovich, German Khan, Alexey Kuzmichev, Viktor Rashnikov, Vladimir Rashevsky, but not Oleg Deripaska) and those responsible for disinformation (Armen Gasparyan, a presenter on Sputnik; Artyom Sheynin, who has a program on Channel 1, and Konstantin Ernst, the CEO of that channel) whose assets can be frozen in the EU. There are already 877 names on that list and black and 62 entities).

About Abramovich, one of the best known and who a few days ago was also hit by British sanctions, it is said in the official text “he has had privileged access to President Putin and has maintained very good relations with him. This link with the leader Russian helped him preserve his considerable fortune.He is a majority shareholder in the steel group Evraz, one of the largest taxpayers in Russia. Thus, it has profited from Russian politicians responsible for annexing Crimea or destabilizing Ukraine.

He is also one of the leading Russian businessmen involved in economic sectors that provide a substantial source of income to the Government of the Russian Federation, which is responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilization of Ukraine.”

rating agencies

Another of the innovative punishments has to do with a service that now has less impact on public opinion but in especially delicate moments it is vital, as was seen a decade ago. The EU has established the ban on European rating agencies from evaluating Russia or Russian clients, with the aim of further limiting their access to markets. “It is prohibited, as of April 15, 2022, to provide credit rating services to any Russian national or natural person resident in Russia or to any legal person, entity or body established in Russia. It is prohibited to provide access to any subscription service related with credit rating activities to any Russian national or natural person residing in Russia or to any legal person, entity or body established in Russia,” the document says.

“From now on, we will stop treating Russia as a most favored nation in the World Trade Organization. This step, along with our ever-expanding sanctions, takes direct aim at Putin and his regime. This is a strong political signal of the EU, the G7 and our partners: Russia is becoming a pariah nation, has pointed out the community vice-president, Valdis Dombrovskis, when implementing the decision taken last Friday by the great world economies.


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