EU agrees crypto measures against Russia

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The unspecified steps to prevent Moscow from dodging sanctions were discussed by the bloc’s finance ministers

European finance ministers will take unspecified measures to prevent Russia from using crypto technologies to dodge the financial sanctions that the EU has imposed against Moscow, France’s Bruno Le Maire announced on Wednesday during a press conference.

“We are taking measures, in particular on crypto currencies or crypto assets which should not be used to circumvent the financial sanctions decided upon by the 27 EU countries,” the French official said after the meeting.

Le Maire said the sanctions have been effective in damaging the Russian financial system, causing a “bank run” and a “paralysis of the Russian Central Bank” by localizing and freezing its assets in European jurisdictions.

EU member states will see a rise of inflation, particularly due to the reliance of many of them on Russian energy, he said, adding that Europeans need to show their unity by supporting those impacted most. The ministers agreed to implement the support measures in close coordination, similar to how Brussels responded to the Covid-19 crisis, Le Maire said.

Western nations imposed harsh financial and trade sanctions on Moscow for last week’s attack against Ukraine. Le Maire even described the restrictions as “a total economic and financial war on Russia,” but later walked back the remark, saying the language was not appropriate.

Moscow claimed it had to attack its neighbors due to continued violence against breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine and to push back NATO’s creeping expansion into Ukraine.

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