New EU sanctions target Russian military-industrial complex

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union said Friday its latest round of sanctions will hit Russia’s military-industrial complex, as well as people and groups that are attacking Ukrainian civilians or kidnapping children.

Valdis Dombrovskis, a European Commission vice-president, said the package will deal a blow to 168 “entities” — companies or state organizations — linked to the arms industry.

“This will ensure that key chemicals, nerve agents, night-vision and radio-navigation equipment, electronics and IT components that could be used by the Russian war machine cannot be freely traded,” said the European Council, which represents member states.

“To avoid circumvention, some Russian-controlled entities based in illegally annexed Crimea or Sevastopol are also included in the list,” it added in a statement.

The ninth package of EU punitive measures against Russia for its war in Ukraine was approved by EU leaders at a summit Thursday. It was formally adopted Friday by written procedure.

“After food and hunger, (Russia President Vladimir) Putin is now weaponizing the winter, by deliberately depriving millions of Ukrainians of water, electricity and heating,” said Josep Borrell, the bloc’s top diplomat. “We will continue targeting the economy and against those who are instrumental in this brutal war.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the package will “push the Russian economy and war machine further off the rails.”

Von der Leyen added that the new sanctions target “almost 200 individuals and entities involved in attacks on civilians and kidnapping children.” Russia’s open effort to adopt Ukrainian children and bring them up as Russian is already well underway, in one of the most explosive issues of the war, an Associated Press investigation has showed.

Full details of the package will be revealed once sanctions are published in the bloc’s legal records.

The bloc will also expand the export ban on aviation and space industry -related goods and technology to include aircraft engines and their parts, with the measure applying to both manned and unmanned aircraft.

“Meaning that from now on there will be a ban on the direct exports of drone engines to Russia and any third country that could supply drones to Russia,” the European Council said.

In addition, an assets freeze will be imposed on two additional Russian banks, while the Russian Regional Development Bank will be added to the list of Russian state-owned or -controlled entities that are subject to a full transaction ban.

Four additional media outlets perceived as propaganda tools used to destabilize the EU — NTV/NTV Mir, Rossiya 1, REN TV and Pervyi Kanal — will have their broadcasting licenses suspended, the council said.

In the energy sector, the EU said it will prohibit new investments in Russian mining, with the exception of mining and quarrying activities involving certain critical raw materials.

Despite the initial reluctance of some member countries who thought the move would create loopholes in the sanctions net, the EU also decided to introduce derogations for some individuals and companies under sanctions to facilitate the transport of wheat and fertilizers between Russia and third countries.

The European Council said this was “to avoid and combat food insecurity around the world, and in order to avoid disruptions in the payment channels for agricultural products.”

As well as sanctions on various entities, banks and individuals, including Putin and members of his family, the EU has previously approved an embargo on coal and seaborne oil imports, in close concert with Western allies.

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