EU bans Russian gold imports, tightens export controls and restricts shipping

The EU Council has adopted further sanctions against Russia, effectively banning its  most significant export after energy – Russian gold.

It has also introduced new measures to prevent circumvention of sanctions by ships and extends the list of dual-use and advanced technology items that may contribute to Russia’s military and technological enhancement.

In response to criticisms that its sanctions against Russia are contributing to global food and fuel shortages and price hikes, the EU is also extending the exemption of transactions for agricultural products and transfer of oil to third countries.

Targeting gold

The EU’s new “maintenance and alignment” package of sanctions introduces new prohibitions to purchase, import, or transfer, directly or indirectly, gold, if it originates in Russia and it has been exported from Russia into the EU or to any third country after.

This prohibition also covers jewellery, imported, purchased or transferred, directly or indirectly, into the EU if it originates and is exported from Russia. This dispels media reports last week that suggested Russian jewellery imports would not be banned.

Defence and security exports

The package also extends the list of controlled items, which may contribute to Russia’s military and technological enhancement or the development of its defence and security sector, thereby reinforcing export controls on dual use and advanced technology.

The list of advanced technology items targeted has been expanded to include 50 additional items, including manufacturing equipment such as machine tools that can be used to produce industrial components or weapons, and other items, such as those used for law enforcement, such as helmets and batons, or chemicals used in riot control.

Shipping restrictions

New measures in the package also extend the EU’s existing port access ban to locks to avoid the circumvention of sanctions through canals, with the exception to access locks when leaving the EU.

This means that Russian ships going towards the sea will be allowed to pass, but not those entering a canal or going further up a canal.

Food and fertiliser

The EU has responded to criticisms that its sanctions have helped create global food shortages and price hikes by stressing that EU sanctions do not target trade in agricultural and food products, (including wheat and fertilisers) between third countries and Russia.

Growing food and nutrition insecurity is caused by the Russian aggression against Ukraine, resulting in the disruption of agricultural production and trade, as well as spiking agricultural production and food prices according to an EU statement.

It also accuses Russia of disrupting shipping in the Black Sea, hoarding its own produce and deliberately targeting key agricultural infrastructure across Ukraine, including grain silos, railways, food warehouses, and is blocking ports.

A Council of the EU press release on the maintenance and alignment package with links to additional resources can be found here.



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