European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a debate on the results of the conflict in Ukraine, as part of a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, on Feb 15, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)
BRUSSELS – Representatives of the 27 European Union countries meet in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss a new batch of sanctions against Russia, which the head of the bloc's executive said could cost 11 billion euros ($11.8 bln) in lost trade.
The bloc is expected to agree new sanctions to mark the one-year anniversary of the start of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine on Feb 24, but the specific proposals must yet win the unanimous backing of all EU member states.
"We're talking about 11 billion euro. We are suggesting restrictions on some dual-use and electronic components used in Russian armed systems such as drones and missiles and helicopters," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.
The European Commission has proposed EU countries should cut four more Russian banks, including the private Alfa-Bank, the online bank Tinkoff and the commercial lender Rosbank from global messaging system SWIFT, two EU diplomatic sources said on condition of anonymity
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"We need to keep up the pressure," she told the European Parliament ahead of the closed-door talks among the 27 national envoys in Brussels.
The Commission has proposed EU countries should cut four more Russian banks, including the private Alfa-Bank, the online bank Tinkoff and the commercial lender Rosbank from global messaging system SWIFT, two EU diplomatic sources said on condition of anonymity.
Rubber and asphalt would be added to the EU list of barred imports from Russia and the bloc would ban Russia Today's Arabic service from its territory, according to the people, who are familiar with the confidential talks.
Further bans on EU exports to Russia were meant to stifle Moscow's ability to produce arms and equipment.
The sources said they would cover electronic circuits and components, thermal cameras, radios and heavy vehicles, as well as steel and aluminium used in construction and machinery serving industrial and construction purposes.
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The Commission also proposed further restrictions on European joint ventures with Russia and Russian nationals sitting on boards in Europe, they added.
The bloc aims to both extend its measures against Russia and close loopholes in existing sanctions. EU nations are also looking at additional reporting obligations to better track Russian assets in Europe as they seek ways to use those frozen under sanctions to finance rebuilding Ukraine.
The EU has so far located around 33.8 billion euros worth of Russian central bank assets on its territory, according to EU officials, from an estimated $300 billion frozen outside of Russia.