EU approves new round of sanctions against Russia

By Paul Myers - RFI
FEB 21, 2024 LISTEN

European Union members gave a provisional all-clear to a 13th package of Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia on Wednesday. It covers bans for nearly 200 organisations and individuals accused of helping Moscow obtain weapons or being involved in kidnapping Ukrainian children.

The new package will add 193 entities and individuals to the list of those banned from travelling to the EU or doing business in the 27-country bloc.

It is understood that the focus of the listings is roughly split between outfits and individuals that are part of Russia's military industrial complex and those involved in trafficking and kidnapping Ukrainian children.

Belgium, which holds the rotating EU presidency, announced the move on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

It is expected the package will be formally approved on 24 February – the second anniversary of Russia's initial incursion into Ukraine.

"This package is one of the broadest approved by the EU," the message added.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court alleged last March that Russia had transferred at least hundreds of children from orphanages and care homes in occupied regions of Ukraine. Many have been given up for adoption.

The ICC indicted officials including President Vladimir Putin for abducting Ukrainian children, which it called a war crime.

Moscow denies any crime and says it has taken in children from the war zone to protect them. Ukraine says Russia has removed more than 4,000 children.

The new measures also focus on the procurement network supporting Russia's military, especially supply chains to make drones.

Twenty-seven companies were added to the Annex IV list, which means European firms cannot sell dual-use goods to them.

It is believed the companies added are mostly Russian and include three mainland Chinese firms and one Hong Kong-based company, the sources said.

The package will be formally approved in time for the second anniversary of the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.