BRUSSELS: The European Union vowed to increase pressure on Moscow “until Ukraine is free” as it adopted a 10th package of sanctions against Russia on Saturday, a day after the first anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine.
“We now have the most far-reaching sanctions ever – depleting Russia’s military arsenal and biting deep into its economy,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter, adding that the bloc was increasing pressure on those trying to circumvent sanctions on EU. .
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned the bloc would continue to pile on more sanctions against Moscow.
“We will continue to increase the pressure on Russia – and we will do so for as long as necessary, until Ukraine is freed from brutal Russian aggression,” he said in a statement.
Borrell said the latest sanctions deal with the banking sector, Moscow’s access to technology that can be used for civilian and military purposes and advanced technologies. The package adds electronic components used in Russian battlefield weapons systems, including drones, missiles, helicopters, as well as specific rare earth materials, electronic integrated circuits and thermal imaging cameras to the list of banned exports.
It also imposes tougher export restrictions on another 96 entities supporting Russia’s military and industrial complex, including for the first time seven Iranian entities that manufacture military drones used by Moscow.
Additional restrictions have been imposed on imports of goods that generate significant revenue for Russia, such as asphalt and synthetic rubber.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal on Saturday called on the EU to continue increasing the cost to Russia of its invasion.
“The pressure on the Russian aggressor must increase. We expect decisive steps against [Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy company) Rosatom & Russian nuclear industry, more pressure on military & banking,” Zelenskiy tweeted.
“We expect further intensification of pressure and restrictions, especially in the area of the nuclear industry and the activities of Rosatom,” Shmyhal said in tweet.
EU member states agreed on the sanctions late on Friday after hectic last-minute haggling, after Poland temporarily threw a spanner into the works.
Warsaw said the proposed restrictions on EU imports of Russian rubber included such a big quota of imports exempted and such long transition periods that they would have no effect in practice.
Other EU countries were baffled that Warsaw – a leading Russia hawk in the bloc – was risking having no new sanctions announced on the key anniversary over a single element of a broader package. All member states need to approve sanctions for them to be enacted, making negotiations among the 27 often tedious and lengthy.