After long negotiations, the EU has imposed a progressive embargo on oil and financial products, as well as new sanctions against individuals. This Friday, June 3, was the start of its sixth package of sanctions against Russia.
These sanctions target an important source for income for Moscow and were published in the official journal by the EU this Friday. They are the most severe since the beginning of the Russian offensive.
Around sixty Russians are added to the blacklist, including Alina Kabaeva (ex-gymnast), who was targeted for her role as head of a media group that relays "propaganda from the Kremlin." He is able to have a relationship with President Vladimir Putin through media, something that Putin has repeatedly denied.
Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church was to be sanctioned by Brussels for his support of the war. However, he is spared because Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister, refused to approve him for his defense of "religious liberty". .
Three Russian financial institutions were also expelled from the Swift system, secure messaging, and vital cogs in international fund transfer. Seven Russian banks had been excluded.
Imports by ship of crude oil and petroleum products will be stopped within six months. The Druzhba pipeline supply can be maintained "temporarily", but there is no deadline. It supplies the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia, which are all without direct access to the sea.
Viktor Orban, the man on whom the country relies for 65% of its oil consumption from Druzhba and who demanded assurances for its energy security, made a concession.
Two thirds of European imports will be affected by the progressive embargo. According to Europeans, Russian imports will be affected more than 90% by Germany and Poland's unilateral decision to stop Druzhba deliveries by the end the year. A "temporary exemption" from the embargo on sea transport for countries affected by the shutdown of Druzhba (which crosses Ukraine) will be possible in the event.
To increase the effectiveness of the embargo tankers carrying Russian oil to third-country countries cannot be insured or financed by European operators for six months. This is to prevent a reorientation in Russian exports. Within the EU, and to third-country countries, it is also forbidden to resell petroleum products derived from Russian crude oil within eight months.
Russia already minimized the impact of the embargo due to delays in stopping imports. Instead, it believed that Europeans would be the first to suffer. The embargo could cause instability in oil markets, increase prices, and increase Russia's income over several months, warned Bruegel of the European think tank. The European oil import bill of Russia was 80 billion euros in 2021. This is four times the amount of Russian gas.
The Twenty-Seven also added 65 people and 18 businesses to their blacklist, who are barred from entry into the EU and have assets frozen. They include soldiers who were involved in "atrocities committed" by Russia's army in the two devastation cities of Boutcha, and Mariupol. Also, businessmen, relatives and people connected to Russian power. Dmitry Peskov's spokesperson, the wife, and his son and daughter are all targeted. Since 2014's annexation, this list has already sanctioned 1,091 individuals and 80 entities.
Three Russian TV channels including Russia 24 (and Russia RTR) are not allowed to broadcast in the EU. They are considered "disinformation instruments" and used in Kremlin propaganda.
The Europeans have already begun to think about a seventh set of sanctions to further isolate Russia. They will include gas as they are still dependent on it and are much more difficult than oil. At the moment, it is impossible to imagine.