European Union has recently adopted the sixth package of sanctions against Russia on Friday in response to its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Sanctions were also imposed against Belarus for its involvement in Russia’s aggression.
With the last five packages, the sanctions are designed further to increase economic pressure on Rusher and undermine its ability to wage its war on Ukraine. They are described as unprecedented and massive by the European Commission but will not be applied immediately because of transition periods and temporary exemptions or exceptions for some member states.
From Ukraine’s point of view, the sanctions may come too late, and they do not include all imports of fossil fuels from Russia. The first four sanction packages targeted mainly oligarchs and business elites linked to the Kremlin and consist of freezing their assets in the EU and bans on travels and investments. It would take a fifth ban, announced in the beginning of April, to include a ban on imports of Russian coal.
When President Volodymyr Zelensky attended the Munich Security Conference in February, a few days before the outbreak of the war, he appealed for sanctions to be imposed as soon as possible. He also repeated previous appeals for new security guarantees to Ukraine and a diplomatic solution to Russia’s conflict.
The West was then seen as afraid that imposing sanctions might provoke Russia to invade Ukraine or close the window for diplomacy. The extent & type of sanctions might also depend on Russia’s action – a full-scale invasion, the annexation of the breakaway regions or a kind of hybrid war to destabilize Ukraine and ruin its economy.
“We don’t need sanctions after the war has started, then it’s too late,” President Zelenskyy said in February. “If Russia would withdraw its 150,000 strong troops around our borders, there will be no need for sanctions. “Instead Russia launched a full-scale invasion which by now already has lasted more than 100 days and wrought immense suffering and destruction on Ukraine.
The main new component in the package is a complete import ban on all Russian seaborne crude oil and petroleum products. This covers 90% of the EU’s current oil imports from Russia. These sanctions entered into force as soon as they were announced in the Official Journal of the European Union (3 June), but in practice, Russian oil imports are expected to be phased out in an orderly fashion.