The European Union will target Russian gold exports in its next sanctions package and try to “close exit routes” to those who circumvent its previous packages, an EU commissioner said Friday.
The EU has so far approved six sanctions packages against Russia. The latest passed in June imposed a ban on most Russian oil imports.
The EU will look into “ways in which we can sanction gold, which is an important commodity for exports from Russia,” said Maros Sefcovic, deputy head of the European Commission, in Prague.
“Once we reach an agreement at member state level, we will publish it,” he said ahead of an informal meeting of EU affairs ministers held by the Czech presidency of the 27-nation bloc.
The move follows a ban on gold exports from Russia agreed by the world’s most industrialized countries at a G7 meeting in late June.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishyna, attending the Prague meeting, urged the EU to adopt a new sanctions package on Thursday.
“There is nothing so far that makes Russia feel responsible for (its) crimes,” she told reporters.
“We hope that the next seventh package of sanctions will have a strong restrictive potential and will be taken without further delay and as soon as possible,” Stefanishyna said.
Sefcovic added that the EU would also try to “close all exit routes to those seeking to circumvent sanctions”.
“Obviously it’s a very complex mechanism, so we don’t just have to set up, but also control, monitor and close the places that would somehow create platforms for an exit,” he said.
He also brushed aside any thoughts of fatigue among EU members helping Ukraine, which Russia invaded on February 24.
“I have never seen such a strong display of unity and effort by all member states to search for all possible reserves, whether we are talking about financial aid or arms supplies,” Sefcovic said.
“Even though it is very difficult, we will continue, because it is the Ukrainians fighting for their freedom who are in the most difficult situation,” he added.
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