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Coal, Investments, and Port Closures: An Update on Sanctions Targeting the Russian Economy

Blocking coal, banning new investments, closing European ports to Russian ships: here is the point of the economic sanctions that Europeans and Americans have imposed on Russia since the start of the war.

The European Union, some of whose member states are heavily dependent on Russia for energy, finally decided on Thursday evening to stop its coal purchases from the Russian Federation from August (45% of its coal imports).

The 27 countries had already planned to reduce their imports of Russian gas by two-thirds by the end of the year, and they are also preventing Europeans from making new investments in this crucial sector of Russia.

Another symbolic decision: the suspension of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which was to increase deliveries of Russian gas to Germany.

The United Kingdom pledged on Wednesday to halt imports of Russian coal, but by the end of the year, as it has already promised for Russian crude and petroleum products.

The United States imposed a ban on Russian oil and gas imports in early March.

On Thursday evening, the European Union announced the closure of its ports to Russian ships. Russian and Belarusian road carriers have also been banned from operating in the European Union.

The airspace of NATO and European Union members was already closed to Russian aircraft and many airlines suspended flights to Russia.

The aviation industry is interested more broadly: a ban on the export of aircraft, spare parts or equipment, a moratorium on maintenance of aircraft registered in Russia by Airbus and Boeing, a ban on access to insurance and reinsurance services in London.

The fifth package of European sanctions adopted on Thursday provides for a ban on exports to Russia, particularly high-tech goods, of up to 10 billion euros.

The list of Russian products prohibited from being imported into the European Union has also been extended to some “Raw materials and basic materials” With an estimated value of 5.5 billion euros annually.

Shortly before the new European sanctions were announced on Thursday, the US Congress nullified the trade statuses of Russia and Belarus by depriving them of their own clause. ‘most favored country’Enough to impose punitive tariffs on imports from the two countries.

Imports are simply banned by the United States regarding seafood, vodka and Russian diamonds.

On Wednesday, the United States banned all new investment in Russia and the United Kingdom banned all new British investment in the country.

Since Monday, the US Treasury has prevented Russia from repaying its debt with dollars held in US banks, forcing Moscow to settle $649.2 million in rubles, raising the risk of default. Washington also imposed this week on the two Russian banking institutions, Sberbank and Alpha Bank, to freeze all their assets “In connection with the American financial system”.

The UK has so far frozen $350 billion in foreign currency from the Russian system, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss calculated on Tuesday.

The United States and the European Union, followed by other countries, banned all transactions with the Russian Central Bank and paralyzed its foreign currency assets.

Another hard blow: the exclusion of the country’s major banks from the interbank Swift system, an essential cog in global finance that allows transactions to be delivered quickly and securely.

Sanctions were imposed on hundreds of Russian figures, including the two daughters of President Vladimir Putin, who were also targeted by Washington and Brussels.

The European Union extended its blacklist on Thursday to include 18 entities and more than 200 additional individuals, which are now punishable by an EU entry ban and asset freeze.

Vladimir Putin himself was already the target of sanctions, as was his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, or Igor Sechin, the head of the oil company Rosneft.

According to a statement issued by the British government on Wednesday, London, for its part, imposed sanctions on a total of 82 oligarchs weighing 170 billion pounds (200 billion euros) as well as 18 banks representing 940 billion pounds in assets (1,120 billion euros). .

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