EU running out of targets for anti-Russia sanctions – top official

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All major possible restrictions have already been imposed, according to the European Council president

European Union debates on new penalties targeting Russia have become more challenging as the bloc has already imposed every possible major sanction on the country and there are “not many things left” to do, President of the European Council Charles Michel said on Monday.

In an interview with Belgian newspaper LeSoir, he said each new package of penalties is now aimed at “tightening loopholes and preventing circumvention attempts,” as all of the main sanctions are already in place.

“The main thing has already been done because we imposed sanctions on fossil fuel… Once you’ve taken the major steps, there aren’t many additional things you can do,” Michel added.

Last month, during a trip to Kiev where he met Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, Michel admitted that negotiations on further sanctions were becoming increasingly complicated with each new round, as additional targets are now scarce.

“Each debate on sanctions is much more difficult than the previous one,” he said.

The tenth package of EU sanctions on Russia, which is currently under discussion, is reported to be worth €11 billion ($11.7 billion) and will focus on stopping sales of high-tech goods that can be used in weapons systems.

The export blacklist will reportedly include electronics, lasers, radio equipment, software, avionics, marine cameras and rare-earth minerals, as well as other more specific components used in nanotechnology.

The sanctions will reportedly target more Russian lenders, adding Alfa Bank, Rosbank, and Tinkoff Bank to the EU blacklist. It will also ban Russian residents from holding posts in the governing bodies of critical European companies, and restrict the provision of gas storage capacity to entities established in Russia.

Brussels has so far adopted nine sanctions packages on Russia, targeting numerous sectors of the economy, as well as businessmen, politicians, and journalists.

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