The European Union is set to propose a ban on many goods transiting through Russia as the bloc attempts to tighten the screws on the enforcement of sanctions imposed over the past year.
The transit ban would extend to numerous technologies and other goods, including several types of vehicles, but not all items would be barred from traveling via Russia en route to third countries, according to people familiar with the proposals.
The ban would be part of a new package of sanctions that’s being prepared by the European Commission.
Moscow has been able to get around restrictions on several sanctioned technologies. Trade data previously reported by Bloomberg suggests that advanced chips and integrated circuits made in the EU and other allied nations are being shipped to Russia through third countries, including Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Kazakhstan.
Surge in trade
Other reports have revealed that some EU nations bordering Russia, including Finland and Estonia, have seen a surge in trade with countries in central Asia and that those goods have often transited through Russia. Some of the items stay in Russia or get re-exported from the third countries to Russia, the reports say.
Poland, Estonia and Lithuania had been pushing the EU to introduce a ban on transit via Russia for goods and technologies that could be used by Russia’s military, aviation and space industries, as well as on items that could contribute to enhancing Moscow’s industrial capacity, according to a document seen by Bloomberg.
The new package of proposed sanctions, which would be the EU’s 11th since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, could also target tankers and vessels that don’t turn on navigation systems allowing their movements to be tracked, the people said.
The main focus of the package that the EU’s executive arm is putting together will be to close loopholes and deal with the circumvention of existing restrictions, including by companies in third countries.
The package is unlikely to target Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear power company, the people said, despite numerous member states calling to sanction the firm over its role in taking over Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia atomic power plant and alleged complicity in abducting personnel who worked there. Too many member states remain opposed to sanctioning Russia’s nuclear sector, said the people.
The suite of measures is also expected to include about 30 new listings as well as further restrictions on several firms and entities, one of the people said.
The proposals need the backing of all member states to be adopted and could change before they’re formally presented to diplomatic envoys or during discussions to agree the package.
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