Wednesday, April 24, 2024

EU agrees new sanctions against Russia, blacklists mainland Chinese companies for the first time

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The European Union agreed on Wednesday to slap Russia with new sanctions targeting, for the first time, mainland Chinese companies suspected of helping the Kremlin obtain banned goods.


The sanctions focus on combating circumvention, going after companies around the world accused of providing advanced technology and munitions, particularly drone parts, to Russia manufactured in the EU.

Companies from countries such as Turkey and North Korea are also being targeted. Nearly 200 people and entities were added to the blacklist, which now includes more than 2,000 names, most of them from Russia.

“We must continue to undermine Putin’s war machine,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

The coalition had previously sought to punish several companies based in mainland China, but complaints from Chinese government officials and reservations from some member states blocked the move. Increasingly close relations between Russia and China eventually led diplomats in Brussels to try the idea again.

Trade between Russia and China hits record high $240 billion According to Chinese government customs statistics, in 2023 (213 billion euros). This figure well exceeds the $200 billion target set by both countries.

The EU’s new sanctions, the 13th since February 2022, also target Russian-run educational institutions that re-educate children abducted from Ukraine. The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin over the alleged abduction, which is treating the charge as a war crime.

The approval of this package was deliberately timed to coincide with the second anniversary of the war in Ukraine. The process has been delayed by Hungary, which is trying to block any regulations involving Russia’s nuclear monopoly Rosatom.

Rosatom is the main contractor for the expansion of the Paks nuclear power plant, which provides more than 50% of Hungary’s electricity.

Despite the minor hiccups, the penalties were approved three days ahead of a symbolic self-imposed deadline to mark two years since Russia invaded Ukraine. almost missed milestone.

Modern policy is focused almost entirely on cracking down on sanctions evasion, a pervasive phenomenon that can be likened to whack-a-mole: as soon as one loophole is closed, another appears.

China, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Serbia and Armenia have been under EU surveillance for several months, with special envoy David O’Sullivan traveling from country to country trying to persuade these governments to take further action. ing. .

“I think we need to be realistic,” O’Sullivan told Euronews. During December. “There’s always some degree of workaround. There’s money to be made.”

Last year, the E.U. Avoidance tools This allows the bloc to restrict certain trade flows with entire countries rather than specific companies. The system is seen as a last resort, and its activation depends on the unanimous approval of member states, a standard that is becoming increasingly difficult to meet.

This article has been updated with additional details about sanctions.

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