EU Aims to Sanction 14 Wealthy Russians, Dozens of Lawmakers

The latest round of sanctions for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would also target at least one entity as well as more than 100 members of the upper house of the Russian Parliament

The Spasskaya tower of the Kremlin, center, and Saint Basil's Cathedral, right, in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022.
By Alberto Nardelli, John Follain and Nikos Chrysoloras
March 08, 2022 | 08:56 AM

Bloomberg — The European Union is set to propose a new round of sanctions that would target a total of 14 individuals, including a number of wealthy Russians and their family members, but will stop short of more far-reaching steps like penalizing ports, according to several diplomats.

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The latest round of sanctions for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would also target at least one entity as well as more than 100 members of the upper house of the Russian Parliament, the Federation Council, who have voted in favor of measures backing the war in Ukraine, said the diplomats, who declined to be named discussing confidential preparations. Among other steps, the Federation Council last week approved a law that criminalizes the intentional spreading of what Russia deems to be “fake” reporting about the invasion.

The EU package being considered also includes cutting off three Belarus banks from the SWIFT international payments system, which lines up with steps taken against several Russian banks, one of the diplomats said.

The EU is trying to ratchet up pressure on Moscow as the invasion becomes more intense, but some member nations want to avoid inflicting too much pain on Europe, particularly amid an energy crunch when the continent remains highly reliant on Russian supplies.

EU officials had also discussed the possibility of banning Russian maritime and land transport, as well as their access to European ports, but Germany had expressed concern that a fuller ban would disrupt trade in items the bloc hasn’t sanctioned, according to people familiar with the matter. Instead, the bloc is likely to impose measures on several maritime materials, the people said. The EU is also divided over whether to impose an embargo on Russian oil.

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The new penalties need to be approved by EU member states before they take effect and they could change before they are adopted. The steps would add to several earlier rounds of EU sanctions, all of which have been coordinated with the U.S. and the U.K.

Separately, Germany is also resisting efforts to add Sberbank to the list of Russian banks that have been cut off from the SWIFT international payments system, the people said. The bank was excluded from the initial list to shield energy-related transactions from getting hit by sanctions and other measures, but calls to strengthen the penalties have grown as Russia’s attacks on Ukraine have intensified. One of the people said that technical work on Sberbank and SWIFT was ongoing.

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