EU’s 14th sanctions are the first major step against Russian gas

In a critical development, EU ambassadors have agreed for the first time to impose sanctions on Russia’s gas industry, a move that could deprive the Kremlin of hundreds of millions of dollars. “This tough package will further block Russia’s access to key technologies,” says European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

“It will deprive Russia of more energy revenues. And it will tackle Putin’s shadow fleet and shadow banking network abroad.” The measures include a ban on the transshipment of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) and a plan to hold EU operators responsible for sanctions violations by their subsidiaries and partners in third countries.

This step has never been discussed before. The decision, which was taken after weeks of discussion by 27 EU members, is opposed by Hungary and Germany. While Hungary’s opposition was expected given Budapest’s consistent opposition to sanctions against Russia, Berlin’s opposition was more controversial. Despite Brussels’ goal of becoming free of Russian fossil fuels by 2027, some EU members remain heavily dependent on Russian gas, with LNG imports from Russia reaching record levels last year.

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