The European Union (EU) has lifted several financial restrictions on Russian oil and food exports in the seventh package of sanctions. Also, it lifted some bans on the supply of certain goods and services to Russian aviation, according to a statement by the EU Council. At the same time, the EU expanded the black list of individuals and legal entities and the list of dual-use goods and technologies prohibited from deliveries to Russia.
In particular, the EU has decided to allow transactions with individual government agencies regarding agricultural products and oil transportation to third countries.
The EU has decided to expand the exemptions from the restrictions to allow transactions with certain government entities concerning agricultural products and the transport of oil to third countries,” the document adds.
The document clarified that “none of the sanctions measures taken today or earlier should in any way be directed against trade [with Russia] in agricultural and food products, including wheat and fertilizers.” Also, no restrictions can be imposed on the supply of medicines.
As for the relaxations in the aviation industry, “this is required by ICAO international aviation security standards”, says the document.
Russian technical assistance on aviation goods and technologies will be permitted to the extent necessary to maintain the technical and industrial standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization, said the EU Council said in a communiqué.
After the European Union announced the partial lifting of the ban on the supply of products for the Russian aviation industry, Aeroflot shares jumped 5%. By 15:09, Aeroflot shares on the Moscow Exchange jumped to 27.94 rubles (+5%), and the trading volume exceeded 288 million rubles.
The European airlines faced increased operating costs due to sanctions imposed against Russia as they were forced to rebuild routes and cancel flights.
At the same time, the ban on docking for Russian ships in EU ports is extended to locks to avoid circumvention of the sanctions framework.
The package contains a ban on the purchase, import or transfer, directly or indirectly, of gold from Russia if it was produced in Russia and from there exported to the EU or third countries.
“The new package to clarify and fine-tune the sanctions will include a ban on the purchase, import or transfer of gold from Russia, including jewellery,” the document said.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said the union expects the ban on gold purchases to be a serious blow to Russia since it is “the most significant item of Russian export after energy.”
Ban on dual-use goods
In addition to gold and black lists, the new package of sanctions includes an expanded list of goods that can contribute to developing the Russian military-technical sector and strengthen control over advanced technologies and dual-use goods.
Decisions Made in Washington
EU anti-Russian sanctions are not accepted by Brussels, and their consequences for Europe are not calculated, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday during a briefing.
According to Zakharova, EU representatives officially talk about solidarity in decision-making, “but these are not decisions that merge into a single song in a chorus of identical voices.”
The diplomat asked herself why the EU was adopting sanctions that hit them themselves? And she answered herself: “Because these decisions are made mainly by Washington.”
And then, according to Zakharova, “a story is played out that this is some kind of solidarity.” At the same time, the diplomat warned that “it will be even worse in the future” since these decisions “were not calculated even in the short term.”
On Wednesday, Maria Zakharova said that the U.S. threats of new sanctions only strengthened the Russian determination to follow the intended course in Ukraine.
Criticisms from home
Earlier in an article for Le Figaro, French banker Philippe Villein wrote that sanctions against Russia, a vital energy supplier, are leading the European Union to death. He was also outraged that the Western authorities do not want to consult with citizens and business representatives when imposing sanctions.
A German journalist Eric Bonse expressed his opinion about the sanctions. He said the European Union is in a deep crisis due to failed domestic policies and anti-Russian sanctions.
Gas – Europe breathed a sigh of relief
On Thursday, the Nord Stream 1 (SP-1) gas pipeline resumed pumping gas to Germany. EU Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn said the day before that he did not expect the pipeline launch, which was stopped by Gazprom for maintenance for 10 days. On Wednesday, the European Union unveiled a plan to cut gas consumption by 15%.