We all saw the gruesome pictures from Bucha and other areas from which Russian troops have recently left. Yesterday, I conveyed to President Zelenskyy my condolences and assured him of the European Commission’s full support in these terrible times. These atrocities cannot and will not be left unanswered. The perpetrators of these heinous crimes must not go unpunished. The EU has set up a Joint Investigation Team with Ukraine. Its task is to collect evidence and investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.
Russia is waging a cruel and ruthless war, not only against Ukraine’s brave troops, but also against its civilian population. It is important to sustain utmost pressure on Putin and the Russian government at this critical point. The four packages of sanctions have hit hard and limited the Kremlin’s political and economic options. We are seeing tangible results. But clearly, in view of events, we need to increase our pressure further. Today, we are proposing to take our sanctions a step further. We will make them broader and sharper, so that they cut even deeper in the Russian economy.
This fifth package has six pillars. First, we will impose an import ban on coal from Russia, worth EUR 4 billion per year. This will cut another important revenue source for Russia.
Second: a full transaction ban on four key Russian banks, among them VTB, the second largest Russian bank. These four banks, which we now totally cut off from the markets, represent 23% of market share in the Russian banking sector. This will further weaken Russia’s financial system.
Third: a ban on Russian vessels and Russian-operated vessels from accessing EU ports. Certain exemptions will cover essentials, such as agricultural and food products, humanitarian aid as well as energy. Additionally, we will propose a ban on Russian and Belarusian road transport operators. This ban will drastically limit the options for the Russian industry to obtain key goods.
Fourth: further targeted export bans, worth EUR 10 billion, in areas in which Russia is vulnerable. This includes, for example, quantum computers and advanced semiconductors, but also sensitive machinery and transportation equipment. With this, we will continue to degrade Russia’s technological base and industrial capacity.
Fifth: specific new import bans, worth EUR 5.5 billion, to cut the money stream of Russia and its oligarchs, on products from wood to cement, from seafood to liquor. In doing this, we also close loopholes between Russia and Belarus.
Sixth: We take a number of very targeted measures, such as a general EU ban on participation of Russian companies in public procurement in Member States, or an exclusion of all financial support, be it European or national, to Russian public bodies. Because European tax money should not go to Russia in whatever shape or form.
Finally, we are also proposing further listings of individuals, which HR/VP, Josep Borrell, will explain to you. But this is not all. We are working on additional sanctions, including on oil imports, and we are reflecting on some of the ideas presented by the Member States, such as taxes or specific payment channels such as an escrow account.
Today, more than 40 countries apply sanctions like these. To take a clear stand is not only crucial for us in Europe, but also for the rest of the world. A clear stand against Putin’s war of choice. A clear stand against the massacre of civilians. And a clear stand against the violation of the fundamental principles of the world order.