EU leaders agree tough sanctions targeting Russian banks and energy sector, visa crackdown and ban on aircraft sales

EU leaders agree tough sanctions targeting Russian banks and energy sector, visa crackdown and ban on aircraft sales

NewsWorldEuropeBloc’s leaders agree in principle at emergency overnight summit to impose new economic sanctions

Keir Starmer warns Britons of ‘economic pain’ from Russia sanctions

European leaders have agreed a “massive and targeted” package of sanctions against Russia after Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea.

After a meeting of EU leaders that lasted into the early hours of Friday morning, Ursula von der Leyen unveiled a raft of new measures including financial sanctions that she said would target 70 per cent of the Russian banking market and key state owned companies, including in defence.

The EU Commission chief said the package would also focus on the energy sector, “a key economic area which especially benefits the Russian state”, with an export ban that “will hit the oil sector by making it impossible for Russia to upgrade its refineries”.

Ms Von der Leyen also announced a ban on the sale of aircraft and equipment to Russian airlines, limits on Russia’s access to certain technology, such as semiconductors or cutting-edge software, and a crackdown on visas so that diplomats and business people “will no longer have privileged access to the European Union”.

She tweeted: “These events mark the beginning of a new era. Putin is trying to subjugate a friendly European country. He is trying to redraw the map of Europe by force. He must and he will fail.”

The Ukrainian State Border Guard Service site damaged by shelling in the Kiev region

(via REUTERS)

The EU was keen to display a united front after a six-hour meeting that saw some disagreement among members over whether to cut the Russians from the Swift system, a key financial network that connects thousands of banks around the world.

The White House has been reluctant to immediately cut Russia from Swift, worried it could cause enormous economic problems in Europe and elsewhere in the West. 

The legal texts for the sanctions agreed on are expected to be finalised overnight and be submitted for approval to EU foreign affairs ministers on Friday. 

Earlier, President Joe Biden unleashed robust new sanctions from the US, declaring that America would stand up to Vladimir Putin. 

Boris Johnson also announced on Thursday the “largest and most severe” package of sanctions Russia has ever faced to punish Mr Putin, who he described as a “blood-stained aggressor”.

An injured man stands by a vehicle of an emergency unit to receive medical assistance after bombings on the eastern Ukraine town of Chuguiv

(AFP)

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