On Friday (15 July), the European Union formally proposed its latest package of sanctions, which includes a ban on Russian gold imports. In a statement, the European Commission referred to the new measures as ” a maintenance and alignment package.”
According to Reuters, officials privately referred to the sanctions as the “sixth and a half” set. This was in reference to its restricted application. Six prior rounds of sanctions have targeted Russian oil and coal.
Some measures may still have significant effects on the affected industries.
Before the sanctions were announced, EU Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic told a news conference, “We do want to ensure that the war ends as quickly as possible so that the economic price that Russia has to pay – the price it must pay for its aggression – continues to rise.”
For these measures to become law, EU countries must now reach a consensus on them. Diplomats from the European Union stated that the measures were uncontroversial and should pass without difficulty.
According to Russian customs data, the United Kingdom will be the largest purchaser of Russian gold in 2020, purchasing 290 tonnes worth $16.9 billion.
A senior EU official, however, insisted that the EU’s decision will not be symbolic because “it will cut off another source of funding for Putin’s war in Ukraine.”