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EU will issue fresh wave of sanctions on Russia, official says


Don't underestimate Russia's efforts to evade sanctions, EU official says

The European Union will launch an 11th wave of sanctions on Russia and seek to crack down on efforts to evade economic penalties introduced in the wake of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a top EU official told CNBC Thursday.

“Europe has rolled out 10 packages of sanctions. We will have another package,” Mairead McGuinness, EU commissioner for financial stability, financial services and capital markets union, told CNBC’s Joumanna Bercetche at the International Monetary Fund’s spring meeting in Washington, D.C.

EU countries have been in talks about drawing up a fresh round of sanctions against Russia in recent weeks and McGuinness confirmed an 11th package of measures is on its way.

“Our information is that the sanctions are working, and we will be doing more but we need to look at full implementation,” McGuinness said. “What Russia is being deprived of is both the finance and the technologies to reinvent their war machine, and they are having problems on the battlefield.”

“We have to make sure that they don’t find ways around our sanctions, and I make the point repeatedly that the deeper our sanctions the more impactful they are, the more Russia will look for those ways whether it’s other countries or different bank accounts to circumvent.”

McGuinness said that as well as coming up with further sanctions on Moscow, Brussels would also seek to ensure sanctions are implemented “effectively” so that it becomes harder for individuals and entities to circumvent them.

“We have to make sure they don’t find ways around our sanctions,” McGuinness said. “I make the point repeatedly that the more deeper our sanctions, the more impactful they are.”

She added, “Don’t underestimate the efforts that Russia will make with its pals globally to get around our sanctions — they’re affecting the Russian economy, they’re affecting the Russian war machine.”

McGuinness was also asked whether the EU will look to penalize countries that aid Russia in evading sanctions with new legislation.

The U.S. Treasury Department last year published a list of countries helping Russia circumvent sanctions, which included Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

McGuinness said the bloc was instead focused on targeting individuals and entities.

“We’re changing our legislation to look at individuals who are involved in sanctions intervention,” McGuinness said. “Certainly, when it comes to people or entities that are breaking the law, we would see it that’s when we would take action.”

Some countries, including Estonia and France, have called on the EU to sanction Moldovan and Georgian oligarchs allegedly working to help Russia destabilize Ukraine.

McGuinness said the EU was working with the U.S., U.K., Canada and Japan, among other allies, to ensure the sanctions on Russia are implemented effectively and gather intelligence on the country’s attempts to evade sanctions.

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