Visas, drones, media… What the 9th package of European sanctions against Russia contains?

The new retaliatory measures, which entered into force on Friday, notably target 12 members of the Russian government and 42 elected Duma members.

At a European summit held in Brussels on Thursday evening, the 27 member countries of the European Union (EU) approved a ninth package of sanctions against Russia, which entered into force on Friday with its publication in the Official Journal of the EU.

In particular, the EU has banned the export of drone engines to Russia and to “all third countries” that can supply it with these elements in order to deprive the Kremlin of these weapons used against Ukraine.

Brussels also prevents EU nationals from occupying “positions in the governing bodies of all legal persons, entities or entities owned or controlled by the Russian state and located in Russia”.

“We continue to target the economy and those who play a decisive role in this brutal war,” European Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said in a statement.

12 members of the Russian government targeted

The targeted sanctions concern twelve members of the government, 42 elected members of the Duma, the president and the nine judges of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, 77 soldiers including 30 members of the unit of the Russian General Staff responsible for planning missile fire, three members of the family of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, an ally of Vladimir Putin, as well as the wife and a relative of the oligarch Yuri Kovaltchouk.

Several media personalities, including Boris Kortchevnikov and director Nikita Mikhalkov, are also being punished for their involvement in justifying the war against Ukraine.

Five Russian political parties – the Communist Party, United Russia, the New People Party, the Liberal Democratic Party and the Fair Russia Party – and 23 companies linked to the Russian military are also sanctioned.

The blacklist of persons and entities banned from visas and whose assets in the EU are seized now includes 1386 individuals and 171 entities.

Russian media sanctioned

The EU has also initiated the procedure of suspending the broadcasting licenses of four media outlets: NTV/NTV Mir, Rossiya 1, REN TV and Pervyi Kanal, to block the systematic international campaign of disinformation and manipulation of information carried out by the Russian Federation with the aim of destabilizing its neighboring countries. The measure is imposed on the company Intelsat, which provides telecommunications services by satellite.

The new sanctions impose restrictions on the export of dual-use goods and technologies, including those used by Russia’s defense and security sector such as “key chemicals, nerve agents, night vision and radionavigation, electronic and computer components”.

The EU also bans exports of drone engines “to Russia and any third country that could supply drones to Russia”, which includes Iran, it was said.

An asset freeze is imposed on the Moscow Credit Bank, Dalnevostochny Bank and the Russian Regional Development Bank. They will no longer be able to carry out transactions in the EU.

A possible unfreezing of the assets of certain oligarchs

Furthermore, no new European investment will be possible in the Russian mining sector, with the exception of activities for the extraction and exploitation of certain critical raw materials: titanium, aluminium, copper, nickel, iron ore, radium, chromium, cobalt and the rare earths needed by European industry.

“These exceptions help protect the economic interests of our industries,” said a senior official.

The EU is also giving itself the possibility of unfreezing the assets held by certain Russian nationals active in the international trade of agricultural and food products, including wheat and fertilizers, before being sanctioned.

This possibility has been a subject of controversy between Member States. Poland and Lithuania judged that this exemption granted to sanctioned oligarchs weakened the sanctions. The two countries gave their agreement after having obtained the guarantee that the derogations would be exceptional and supervised.