EU approves new round of Russia sanctions targeting energy, steel, defense sectors

The measure will hit Russia's oil majors Rosneft, Transneft and Gazprom Neft, but EU members will be still able to buy oil and gas from them.

 A logo of Russian state oil firm Rosneft is seen at its office in Moscow, October 18, 2012 (photo credit: MAXIM SHEMETOV/REUTERS)
A logo of Russian state oil firm Rosneft is seen at its office in Moscow, October 18, 2012
(photo credit: MAXIM SHEMETOV/REUTERS)

The European Union formally approved on Tuesday a new barrage of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, which include bans on investments in the Russian energy sector, luxury goods exports and imports of steel products from Russia.

The sanctions, which come into effect after publication in the EU official journal later on Tuesday, also freeze the assets of more business leaders who support the Russian state, including Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich.

The European Commission said in a statement on Tuesday that the sanctions included "a far-reaching ban on new investment across the Russian energy sector."

The measure will hit Russia's oil majors Rosneft, Transneft and Gazprom Neft, but EU members will be still able to buy oil and gas from them, an EU source told Reuters.

There will also be a total ban on transactions with some Russian state-owned enterprises linked to the Kremlin's military-industrial complex, the EU executive said.

European Union flags flutter outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 24, 2021 (credit: REUTERS/YVES HERMAN)European Union flags flutter outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 24, 2021 (credit: REUTERS/YVES HERMAN)

The bloc reached a preliminary agreement on the new sanctions on Monday, and no objections were raised before an agreed deadline.

The ban on Russian steel imports is estimated to affect 3.3 billion euros ($3.6 billion) worth of products, the Commission said.

EU companies will also be no longer allowed to export any luxury goods worth more than 300 euros, including jewelry. Exports of cars costing more than 50,000 euros will also be banned, EU sources said.

The package also prohibits EU credit rating agencies from issuing ratings for Russia and Russian companies, which the Commission says will further restrict their access to European financial markets.

The latest sanctions follow three rounds of punitive measures which included freezing of assets of the Russian central bank and the exclusion from the SWIFT banking system of some Russian and Belarusian banks.

The EU also agreed on Tuesday to strip Russia of its "most-favored nation" trade status, opening the door to punitive tariffs on Russian goods or outright import bans.