European Union imposes an embargo on Russian coal

The countries of the European Union (EU) approved on Thursday an embargo on Russian coal and the closure of European ports to ships from that country, within the framework of the fifth wave of sanctions against Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine.

The sanctions package, which a French EU Council presidency official called “very substantial,” comes after the discovery last week of dozens of civilian bodies in the town of Bucha, northwest of kyiv.

It also includes measures that restrict exports of high technology goods to Russia worth 10,000 million euros (almost 11,000 million dollars) and the freezing of activities of several Russian banks.

This is the first time that the members of the Union approve measures against the Russian energy sector, on which many European countries depend.

The EU imports 45% of its coal from Russia, worth €4 billion per year ($4.35 billion).

The embargo will go into effect in early August.

In turn, the list of Russian products that are prohibited from importing into the EU was expanded to include some “raw materials and fundamental materials”, worth an estimated 5.5 billion euros a year (almost 6 billion dollars), in a attempt to hinder the Russian war effort.

In a series of messages on Twitter, the French presidency of the Union also indicated that it prohibits Russian and Belarusian carriers from operating on its territory.

The black list of people sanctioned by the EU was extended to 200 people with the inclusion of Russian oligarchs and the two daughters of Vladimir Putin, according to documentation that AFP was able to consult.

Russia “will suffer a long descent into economic, financial and technological isolation,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter.

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