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Monday, May 23, 2022

EU imposes sanctions on Putin’s daughters

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The European Union has imposed sanctions on two adult daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of a new package of measures targeting Russia’s economy, businessmen and oligarchs in retaliation for the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, according to two EU officials.

The EU included Maria Vorontsova and Katerina Tikhonova in its updated list of individuals facing an assets freeze and travel ban. The two EU officials from different EU member countries spoke Friday on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the updated list of individuals and entities sanctioned has not been published yet.

The move from the European bloc follows a similar move two days earlier by the United States.

In the wake of evidence of torture and killings emerging from war zones outside Kyiv, the EU decided to impose a fifth package of measures.

“These latest sanctions were adopted following the atrocities committed by Russian armed forces in Bucha and other places under Russian occupation,” said Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat. “The aim of our sanctions is to stop the reckless, inhuman and aggressive behavior of the Russian troops and make clear to the decision makers in the Kremlin that their illegal aggression comes at a heavy cost.”

But many in the Ukraine government want tougher measures that will have a quicker impact on the war.

“Some countries may want to exhaust the Russians economically rather than stop them, while the Ukrainians are shedding their blood. We don’t accept that,” said Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk “The idea of the sanctions should be not just to exhaust the Russians in the longer term, but to stop them within months, not years.”

In addition to sanctions on individuals and members of their families, oligarchs and high-ranking Kremlin officials, the 27-nation bloc also formally approved Friday an embargo on coal imports starting in August, as well as a full transaction ban on four key Russian banks representing 23% of market share in the Russian banking sector.

Also, vessels registered under the Russian flag are now prohibited to access EU ports, with an exception for agricultural and food products, humanitarian aid and energy.

This is the first time that EU sanctions target Russia’s lucrative energy industry over its war in Ukraine. According to the EU council, imports of coal into the region are currently worth 8 billion euros per year.

The EU has already started working on additional sanctions, including on oil imports.

EU officials said the impact of the bloc’s sanctions so far over the first four weeks shows that imports into the 27 nations from Russia dropped off by 9% in terms of value, and over 20% in terms of volume. Trade from the EU to Russia has fallen by three quarters.

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