New Round of EU Sanctions Against Russia Comes Into Force ({{commentsTotal}})

The European Union began to apply a new round of sanctions against Russia today for its involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which rumbles on despite talk of a ceasefire last week.

The sanctions limit the number of Russian banks and companies that can get loans from Europe, and freeze cooperation between its oil companies and European firms.

The new sanctions list names Russian oil companies Rosneft and oil transportation companies Transneft and Gazprom Neft as targets. It does not, however, put sanctions on Gazprom, the world's largest natural gas producer and a supplier for many European nations, including Estonia.

European companies must not, directly or indirectly, provide assistance with Russian deep-sea oil drilling and production research, including in the Arctic Sea.

The sanctions also name military manufacturers such as UralVagonZavod, which makes battle tanks, airline company and state manufacturer OPK Oboronprom, which makes MiG fighter jet and Sukhoi aircraft. It restricts the companies to 30-day loans.

The EU also added travel bans and asset freezes to the leaders of separatists in eastern Ukraine, such as Aleksandr Zahharchenko the prime minister of the self-declared "People's Republic of Donetsk," and its defense minister Igor Girkini. Also named were Vladimir Kononov, the leader of the "People's Republic of Luhansk," and Crimean leader Gennady Chypkalov.

The sanctions also blacklisted Russian Duma member Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who is known for his militant speeches, including nuclear threats against the Baltic states and Poland.

According to the EU, the sanctions may be canceled if a truce between Ukraine and Russia comes fully into force. The United States has promised to publish its own list of sanctions during the day.

The new round of EU sanctions will be more fine-tuned and painful for Russia, said Matti Maasikas, the head of Estonia's permanent representation to the EU when they were agreed to in Brussels on Monday.

“The situation in Ukraine must change very radically and very quickly before we can realistically discuss holding off the implementation,” Maasikas said.

Moscow has drawn up new anti-Western sanctions targeting imports of consumer goods and second-hand cars, it said Thursday.

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