PRAGUE: The European Union will focus on Russian gold exports in its next package of sanctions and seek to “close exit routes” for those who circumvent its previous packages, a European commissioner said on Friday.
The EU has so far approved six packages of sanctions against Russia.
The latest, adopted in June, imposed a ban on most Russian oil imports.
Commission freezes Russian assets worth $13.8 billion
The EU will examine “ways to introduce a sanctions regime for gold, which is an important commodity for exports from Russia,” European Commission Deputy President Maros Sefcovic said in Prague.
“As soon as we reach an agreement at the level of the member states, we will announce it,” he said ahead of an informal meeting of EU affairs ministers organized by the Czech presidency of the 27-member bloc.
This move follows the ban on gold exports from Russia, which was agreed upon by the world’s most industrialized countries at the G7 meeting at the end of June.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishyna, who is attending a meeting in Prague, called on the EU on Thursday to adopt a new set of sanctions.
“So far, Russia does not feel responsible for (its) crimes for anything,” she told reporters.
“We hope that the next, seventh package of sanctions will have a strong restrictive potential and will be adopted without further delay and as soon as possible,” Stefanishyna said.
Šefčović added that the EU will also strive to “close all exit routes for those who want to circumvent sanctions”.
“It is, of course, a very complex mechanism, so we have to not only set up, but also check, monitor and close places that would somehow create exit platforms,” he said.
He also dismissed any thought of fatigue from EU members helping Ukraine, which Russia invaded on February 24.
“I have never seen such a strong display of unity and the efforts of all member states to find all possible reserves, be it financial aid or the supply of weapons,” said Šefčovič.
“Although it is really difficult, we will continue, because the Ukrainians, who are fighting for their freedom, are in the most difficult situation,” he added.
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