The EU has approved the most recent round of sanctions against Russia. It targets a variety of services related to cryptography. The measures are part of an expected tightening of the economic and financial restrictions in response to Moscow’s decision to annex Ukrainian territories.
EU Council Bans Crypto Wallets, Custody Services and Russian Persons
On the heels of the escalating military conflict in Ukraine, the Council of the European Union issued new sanctions against Russia. These sanctions are expected to affect the Russian economy and government after Moscow attempted to annexe the Ukrainian territories of Donetsk and Luhansk.
In a statement, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell emphasized that the sanctions are a response to the latest escalation with the “fake referenda” in these four oblasts. Russian entities and individuals who have been involved in the organization’s affairs will be targeted.
Others Russian businesses and residents will be also affected by the new measures, which include those dealing with cryptocurrency. New measures also ban the provision of custody or account services, wallets or accounts for cryptocurrency assets to Russian citizens and residents. That’s regardless of the value of these assets, according to the eighth package of sanctions imposed by Brussels.
This spring, when the EU approved its fifth round of such measures, the Council prohibited only the provision of “high-value” crypto-asset services to Russians and organizations registered in their country. The ban applied to digital funds exceeding €10,000 (close to $11,000 at the time).
Russian Exports and Imports Will Be Affected by the New European Sanctions
Although the previous restrictions were intended to prevent the transfer of wealth using digital assets and close loopholes within the space, recent reports revealed that pro-Russian organizations have used cryptocurrency to finance paramilitary operations inside Ukraine. They have raised nearly $400,000 of crypto funds since late February, when the invasion began. Russian authorities are also working with businesses to enable crypto payments to international settlements.
In its latest decision, the EU bans IT consultation and legal services for Russia. It also prohibits architectural and engineering service providers. Russian exports and imports were also targeted. This includes the shipping of petroleum products and crude oil to third-country ports. Only services related to these will be permitted if they have been bought at or below the pre-determined price limit, which has yet to be established.
Among the other measures is a ban on EU nationals to hold any posts on the governing bodies of some Russian state-owned or government-controlled entities. Council members also adopted a broadening of the criteria for determining who can be considered as having facilitated the bypass of European Union restrictions. Brussels’ executive, the European Commission, welcomed the new sanctions package.
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