EU to adopt new sanctions on Russia on Friday, tweaks to avoid food shortages – sources


European Union flags fly in front of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, June 17, 2022. REUTERS/Yves Herman

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BRUSSELS, July 15 (Reuters) – The European Commission is expected to adopt its seventh set of sanctions against Russia on Friday, which will add a ban on imports of Russian gold and modify existing restrictive measures to avoid hampering food exports, two officials said. Reuters.

The new measures are seen as “a set of maintenance and alignment measures”, one of the officials said, calling it the “sixth and a half” set of sanctions for its limited scope compared to previous rounds that hit Russian oil or coal. .

However, some measures could have serious repercussions on the affected sectors.

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The draft package includes a ban on Russian gold imports into the EU, a proposal first reported by Reuters in June and which would come into effect with the adoption of the new sanctions. Read more

The European Commission is expected to adopt the new measures later on Friday, said the two people who requested anonymity. EU envoys are expected to discuss the new package next week for final approval before the summer break.

A source said Russian gold imports via third countries would also be affected, but did not elaborate on how this would work.

Brussels will also strengthen existing measures, with new restrictions on imports of goods that can be used for military purposes, including chemicals and machinery, the source said.

New people and entities considered close to the Kremlin will also be added to the EU blacklist which requires the freezing of their assets and travel bans, according to the two sources and another EU official.

The Commission will also modify existing sanctions to ensure they do not affect Russian food and grain exports, the three officials said.

African countries have said EU sanctions have contributed to the current food crisis, mainly caused by the war in Ukraine and the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports from where grain is usually exported to the world.

The EU has long denied that its sanctions have affected the food trade. The proposed adjustments aim to ensure the rules are not misinterpreted by traders, including a ban on Russian vessels entering EU ports, an official said.

Under this measure, Russian ships are already allowed to enter EU ports if they are carrying food or medicine.

But some traders have shunned food exported from Russian ports that are indirectly owned by Brussels-sanctioned Russian state-owned companies. The new package will specify that these ports are exempt from sanctions, the source said.

The Commission should also strengthen the current ban on Russian ships entering EU ports to prevent them from circumventing sanctions by unloading their cargoes at the outer quays, the source said. For this purpose, the definition of the ports must be extended.

A ban on the offering of Western cloud services to Russian customers, initially considered for the new package, is maintained for future cycles, as the measure is now coordinated with the United States and Britain, whose companies dominate the market. sector, the official said.

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Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; additional reporting by John Chalmers; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Tomasz Janowski

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