In response to the war in Ukraine, the European Union has increased its sanctions against Russia.
Belgium (AP) — On Thursday, the European Union increased its sanctions against Russia in response to the conflict in Ukraine. The measures included a ban on the import of gold, more limitations on the nation's largest bank, and tighter export controls on select high-tech products.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, claimed that the "enhanced, protracted" EU sanctions against the Kremlin send "a powerful signal to Moscow: we will keep the pressure high for as long as it takes."
The EU has framed the latest wave of penalties as minor changes to line up its policies with those of its international allies. No prohibition on importing Russian gas, which continues to be a lifeline for many of the EU's titan sectors, is being considered.
In the hopes that the measures might start to have a significant impact on the conflict in Ukraine, EU officials spent the whole week tightening the bloc's vast package of sanctions against Russia and exploring methods to include a ban on gold exports.
Josep Borrell, the head of EU foreign policy, was able to declare on Thursday that "We are banning Russian gold," which is the country's second-largest export after energy.
The Group of Seven major industrialized countries agreed to an embargo on gold last month, claiming that Russia had used its gold to support its currency and get over prior international sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
The EU also pursued additional legal action against Sberbank, which had previously been suspended from the SWIFT global banking messaging system. The bank's assets will be blocked and added to the EU's list of sanctioned parties, making all transactions nearly impossible.
Additionally, the EU tightened the noose around sanctioned people, who were frequently billionaires associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
For the holdings to be blocked, they must now formally declare where they have assets in the EU. According to the EU, failing to comply could result in criminal penalties and asset forfeiture.
The EU decided to increase military assistance to Ukraine by 500 million euros on Monday.
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