“The harshest package of sanctions the EU has ever imposed”

Published

On 24 February, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson took part in a special meeting of the European Council in Brussels in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the very serious security situation in Europe. “Tonight we gave the green light to the harshest package of sanctions the EU has ever imposed,” said Ms Andersson at a press conference after the meeting.

Photo: European Council

According to Ms Andersson, the mood at the meeting was fateful, and she described the situation in Europe as the worst since the Second World War. 

“The EU has responded swiftly – by Tuesday we had already agreed on a tough package of sanctions. The EU is united in its stance that Russia’s actions must be met forcefully and resolutely. 

The EU’s sanctions target the financial sector, the energy sector and the transport sector, and will stop the export of key technology,” Ms Andersson explained. 

“We have agreed to begin preparing the next steps without delay. And we will include Belarus due to its active role on Russia’s side. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky participated in the first part of the meeting via video link. 

“He described the situation in Ukraine. And when we said goodbye, we all knew there was a chance we might not see each other again,” said Ms Andersson.

Sanctions against Russia

The sanctions officially adopted by the EU’s foreign ministers on 25 February include: 

  • Measures against loans to other private banks
  • Measures against the new listing of Russian state-owned entities and against the financing of certain state-owned companies
  • Prohibition on new deposits exceeding EUR 100 000 in EU banks from Russian nationals or residents
  • Prohibition on the holding of accounts of Russian clients by the EU Central Securities Depositories
  • Prohibition on the selling of euro-denominated securities to Russian clients 
  • Prohibition on exports of specific technologies to the oil sector 
  • Prohibition on the sale or provision of goods and services in the aviation and space industry 
  • Further restrictions on the export of dual-use goods from the EU to Russia 
  • Restrictions on the export of certain goods and technology which might contribute to Russia’s technological enhancement of its defence and security sector.

The sanctions also include listings of additional individuals in the existing sanctions regime. The listings include all the members of the Russian State Duma not previously on the sanctions list, additional members of the Russian Security Council and Belarusian individuals who facilitated the invasion of Ukraine. President Putin and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov are also sanctioned and any assets they have in the EU have been frozen. New criteria for listing individuals have also been proposed.

On 23 February, the EU foreign ministers decided on the following sanctions:

  • Prohibition to finance the Russian Federation, its government and Central Bank.
  • An import ban on goods from the non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, and prohibition on financing or financial assistance as well as insurance and reinsurance related to the import of goods from the two regions.
  • Prohibition on providing financial services to and financing of entities in the regions.
  • Prohibition on the export of goods, technology or services in the transport, telecommunications and energy sectors or the prospecting of oil, gas and mineral resources to entities in the regions or for use in the regions.
  • Prohibition on services related to tourism activities in the regions.