The EU approves new sanctions against Russia with exemptions to the maritime transport of fertilizers

The Twenty-seven have reached an agreement this Thursday for the adoption of the ninth round of sanctions against Russia in retaliation for the aggression in Ukraine, diplomatic sources have confirmed to Europa Press, after a meeting of European ambassadors in parallel to the meeting of heads of State and Government of the European Union in Brussels.

The meeting of ambassadors has managed to unblock the situation to adopt the new batch of sanctions, which will be approved by written procedure this Friday. In this way, it has cleared up the reluctance of Poland and Lithuania that demanded guarantees to ensure that the impact of the sanctions was not minimized with too many exemptions for the transport of Russian fertilizers.

Six member states with port interests, including Spain, had circulated a document to define the derogations and ensure that they are limited exclusively to the maritime transport of food and fertilizers to allow them to reach developing countries, calming criticism from Warsaw and Vilnius. .

The latest round of sanctions for the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine includes the expansion of the ‘black list’ to add 144 people and 48 entities responsible for Russian attacks against civilian targets in Ukraine, already approved by the foreign ministers on Monday. The restrictions extend to the Russian Armed Forces as well as ministers, governors, heads of Russian political parties and representatives of the State Duma.

The sanctions also seek to block Moscow’s access to drones and other unmanned weapons that can be used against civilians in Ukraine and propose a ban on direct exports to Russia and exports to third countries such as Iran, which has helped with military supplies to Russia.

More economic measures in this ninth package affect the mining sector, including a ban on mining investments in Russia. On the financial side, it reinforces the restrictions against three Russian banks and prohibits the transactions of the Russian Regional Development Bank. While to combat Russian propaganda, the Twenty-seven will have on the table to suspend the broadcasts in Europe of four more channels, after doing the same with Russia Today and Sputnik.

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Poland and Lithuania maintained their blockade on the new round of sanctions for their opposition to relaxing certain measures on the maritime transport of fertilizers and food linked to Russian oligarchs under the pretext of food security. There was also concern about the extension of some sectoral sanctions that expire in January and whose renewal depends on a decision of 27.

Upon arrival at the meeting, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda asked to keep the sanctions as strict as possible and demanded not to use food safety as a "excuse to lower sanctions on Russian oligarchs".

Several diplomatic sources explain that there will finally be derogations as requested by the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, Spain and France, who consider that the current legal situation contributes to criticism that the sanctions actually hinder the trade in food and fertilizers.

For this reason they claimed "urgently an exemption for agricultural products, including fertilizers subject to restrictive sectoral measures, establishing that asset freezing measures should not be applied to funds or economic resources that are strictly necessary for the purchase, sale, import, export or transport of food and agricultural products from or through Russia or Ukraine"according to the proposal to which Europa Press has had access.

The introduction of an exemption in the transfer to third countries of fertilizers and food "It would provide legal certainty to our operators and guarantee that fertilizer exports to third countries are not hindered. by this measure"advocated these six Member States.

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