EU announces Russian oil price cap in new sanctions plan

    ECONOMICS  29 September 2022 - 16:20

    The European Commission is proposing a price cap on Russian oil as part of its latest sanctions package against Moscow over its war with Ukraine.

    The new package comes after the Kremlin's announcement on partial mobilization, annexation referendums in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine and threats to use nuclear weapons.

    The package also aims to punish the Russian steel industry and deprive the Kremlin's military of key technologies, according to a draft of the sanctions proposal, seen by POLITICO.

    European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell announced the proposal on September 28.

    "We do not accept the sham referenda nor any kind of annexation in Ukraine and we are determined to make the Kremlin pay for this further escalation," von der Leyen said in Brussels, referencing Moscow's attempt this week to hastily arrange votes in occupied territory and possibly give itself a flimsy pretext to claim the land.

    "Our sanctions have hit Putin's system hard," she added. "They have made it more difficult for him to sustain the war. And we are increasing our efforts here."

    The oil price cap was previously agreed to by G7 countries. The U.S. had been putting pressure on the EU to get the cap in place by December 5, when European sanctions banning seaborne imports of Russian crude come into force. Von der Leyen said she would publish the legal basis for this oil price cap, to reduce Russian revenues and stabilize the global oil market.

    The sanctions — the EU's eighth package against Russia — included more measures against individuals assisting Vladimir Putin's war effort, as well as bans on trade in goods.

    According to the sanctions proposal draft, the EU wants to bar the import of several steel products from Russia as a way to further strip the country's revenue sources.

    The EU is also eyeing export restrictions as a way to weaken the Kremlin's military. The proposed export bans target semiconductors, aircraft and specific chemical substances crucial to the country's armed forces.

    "The aim," von der Leyen said, is "to deprive the Kremlin's military complex of key technologies.” 

    But the products in line for sanctions are not all tools of war. A number of common household items also made the import ban list. "Beauty or make-up" is on there, as are "shaving" items and "personal deodorants." Soap, toilet paper, dental floss and vanity cases also made the cut.

    The document also includes bans on Europeans providing architectural and engineering services for Russians and prohibits giving Russians legal or IT advice.

    Another proposal bound to draw attention is a prohibition on EU nationals sitting on governing boards of Russian state-owned enterprises. The inclusion puts a spotlight back on former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. The ex-leader has held senior positions in a number of Russian energy firms since leaving office, including Nord Stream, Rosneft and Gazprom.

    A smattering of individuals is also in line for sanctions, ranging from defence officials to musicians to arms dealers.


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