EU, US Adopt Sanctions Targeting Key Russian Sectors

Business | July 30, 2014, Wednesday // 11:57|  views

Since her visit to the US in May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly warned a new round of Western sanctions would be "unavoidable" if Russia maintains its stance on the Ukraine crisis. Photo by EPA/BGNES

EU leaders have introduced a third stage of sanctions against Russia over the country's stance on the Ukraine crisis.

Under the new agreement, trade in Russian bonds and stocks issued by state-owned companies will be banned, and Russian military entities will be prevented from receiving arms and high-tech items.

Exports of oil-production technology to Russia will also be halted, and investment into economic development projects will not be subsidized, the EUObserver has revealed.

Washington has echoed European leaders' move.

The US has included three banks into the sanctions list (VTB, the Bank of Moscow and Russian Agriculture Bank) and has partially confirmed reports of the Wall Street Journal, which earlier wrote that VTB and Sberbank are widely expected to be in the blacklist.

Washington hopes the new measures would affect sectors such as energy, arms and finance to apply more pressure on Russia, which the US and the EU maintain is supporting the unrest in Ukraine and could have been responsible for a recent plane crash.

Brussels' new measures target the oil sector, defense equipment and sensitive technologies.

Fresh restrictions were adopted after a Malaysia Airlines' passenger jet crashed in the east of Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels are operating, leaving all 298 on board dead.

The Boeing 777 was reportedly hit by a missile, and both Russia and Ukraine (the latter backed by the West) accuse each other of having a role in the incident.

The West argues sanctions could become a warning sign for Moscow and discourage it from backing the conflict.

"If Russia continues on this current path, the costs on Russia will continue to grow," the BBC quoted US President Barack Obama as saying.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the new restrictions as "unavoidable".

Brussels has so far refrained from harsher economic measures against Russia due to discrepancies among member states, but has opted to strengthen the blacklist of individuals who have been imposed travel bans and asset freezes.

Earlier in June the EU also expanded the blacklist of sanctions as 15 Russian citizens and 18 entities also fell under restrictions.

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Tags: US, EU, sanctions, Russia, Ukraine, ukraine crisis, restrictions, blacklist, VTB, Sberbank, Bank of Moscow, Russian Agriculture Bank, Barack Obama, Malaysia Airlines, Boeing 777, Angela Merkel


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