A New Round of EU Sanctions Against Russia: What You Need to Know

A New Round of EU Sanctions Against Russia: What You Need to Know

Introduction

In the new year, the European Union (EU) has imposed another round of sanctions against Russia. These targeted restrictions aim to impact Russia's diamond and aluminum industries, as well as freeze assets and enforce export bans. In this blog, we will discuss the severity of these sanctions and their potential effects. Joining us to provide insights is Yakob Kard from the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

The Severity of the Sanctions

With this being the 12th round of EU sanctions, it is crucial to understand its severity compared to previous rounds. Yakob explains that while there is an incremental tightening of sanctions, this round stands out due to the explicit ban on diamonds. The EU has been trying to reach an agreement on this ban for quite some time, and it has finally been implemented. Additionally, there are significant increases in the enforcement of existing sanctions, making this round one of the most impactful among the twelve.

The Sanctions in Effect

Effective as of January 1st, 2024, these sanctions include several measures. The most prominent one is the ban on imports of Russian diamonds, encompassing both mined and processed diamonds. While this ban does not currently apply to industrial diamonds, it will be extended to include them later this year. Furthermore, the sanctions enforce a G7 cap on the price of Russian oil and restrict the sale of software to Russian companies and government entities. For the first time, Russian aluminum products are also being sanctioned.

Effectiveness of Previous Sanctions

Considering that this is the 12th round of sanctions, one might question their effectiveness. Yakob clarifies that it depends on the desired outcome. If the goal was to crush the Russian economy and force Vladimir Putin to abandon the war in Ukraine, then the sanctions have not achieved that. However, if the aim was to limit Russia's ability to wage advanced industrial war and produce advanced weaponry, then the sanctions have indeed been successful. The freezing of Russian assets in Western financial institutions is also a significant factor in the potential use of these funds to rebuild or compensate Ukraine after the war.

The Timeline of Sanctions' Effects

It is important to note that sanctions do not produce immediate results. There were inflated expectations that Russia would immediately change its behavior in response to the sanctions. However, Yakob emphasizes that sanctions work on a gradual basis, making it harder for Russia to wage its war effectively and undermining the economic strength of the Russian government. While the desired effects are being achieved, it is crucial to understand that it takes time to see a significant impact.

The Challenges and Risks of Sanctions

Yakob highlights that some of these sanctions are being actively undermined, creating challenges for their enforcement. However, he raises concerns about potential risks associated with underinsured Russian oil tankers, which could lead to catastrophic oil spills. The lack of reinsurance coverage to pay for the cleanup poses a significant problem. To make the sanctions more effective, it may require secondary sanctions on buyers of Russian oil in third countries. Additionally, the diamond sector remains a vulnerable area, and further sanctions may target the gas industry.

Future Steps and Conclusion

Yakob predicts that there will likely be another round of sanctions in the future, as the EU continues to enforce and evolve existing measures. The focus may shift to banning the import of Russian liquid natural gas and implementing secondary sanctions against third-country governments and companies involved in breaching EU sanctions. The effectiveness of these measures will depend on the cooperation and actions of various countries. As the situation develops, it will be interesting to see how these sanctions shape the relationship between the EU and Russia.

Thank you for joining us in this discussion on the new round of EU sanctions against Russia. For more informative content, please stay tuned to the DW News YouTube channel.

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