EU proposes new Russia sanctions including oil price cap

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Brussels (AFP) – The EU executive on Wednesday proposed a new round of sanctions against Moscow over its recent “escalation” in Ukraine, including an oil price cap and a ban on Russian exports worth seven billion euros ($7 billion).

It also plans to expand its travel and asset freeze blacklist to include senior Russian defense officials and organizers of widely derided annexation votes in occupied Ukrainian territories.

“Russia escalated the invasion of Ukraine to a new level last week,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

She listed the “sham” referendums staged by Russia in the occupied territories of Ukraine, Moscow’s military mobilization and President Vladimir Putin’s “threat to use nuclear weapons”.

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“We are determined to make the Kremlin pay for this further escalation,” von der Leyen said.

As part of the new round of sanctions – to be signed by the bloc’s 27 nations – the commission is laying out a “legal basis” for a price cap on Russian oil, in line with a G7 agreement.

It will also seek to ban $7 billion worth of Russian exports and tighten restrictions on flows of goods out of the EU that could aid Russia’s war machine.

“The point here is to deprive the Kremlin’s military complex of key technologies,” von der Leyen said.

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“This includes, for example, additional aviation items or electronic components and certain chemical substances.”

The proposal includes a ban on Europeans sitting on the boards of Russian state-owned companies.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the blacklist would include those who help Moscow circumvent sanctions.

The bloc has already imposed seven waves of unprecedented sanctions on Moscow since invading its pro-Western neighbor in late February.

The EU agreed back in May to a ban on most oil flowing into the Union from Russia, with full effect expected in December.

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The push for an oil price cap is aimed at capping how much third countries like China and India pay for Russian crude.

To get there it would involve restrictions on shipping by European companies and the seizure of Russian oil cargoes to the rest of the world.

The Baltic states, Ireland and Poland had pushed for tougher measures in this latest round, including curbing cooperation with Russia’s commercial nuclear sector.

However, that measure was rebuffed by member states, who were concerned it would further disrupt energy supplies as Europe faces a crisis amid Russian cuts this winter.