Three countries oppose EU sanctions proposal regarding Russia's "shadow fleet" – the FT

Thursday, 23 May 2024

The EU countries remain divided over measures aimed at Russia's so-called "shadow fleet", which consists of semi-legal oil tankers. Countries such as Greece, Cyprus and Malta have opposed such measures.

According to the Financial Times, the day before, EU ambassadors reportedly discussed a draft new package of sanctions against Russia, which also includes a ban on the re-export of Russian liquefied natural gas – the first time the EU has officially targeted Russian gas products – which one participant in the meeting called "a step forward".

Two sources said that there are disagreements over the scope of the measures, but not ideological confrontation or uncompromising red lines.

The biggest problem concerns tougher sanctions against tankers used by Russia to transport crude oil with unverified insurance and obscure ownership structures.


Countries such as Greece, Cyprus, and Malta have opposed such measures, arguing that they will only lead to shipping operators taking even more non-transparent steps to hide their fleets, ultimately increasing the risk of a major maritime disaster – and therefore potentially harming the entire shipping industry.

Individual sanctions against more than 100 individuals involved in the deportation of Ukrainians from the occupied territories and arms production are also included in the proposed package, along with anti-circumvention measures aimed at closing loopholes in existing sanctions.

It has also been reported that the EU is preparing to tighten sanctions against Belarus to close a loophole that allowed Moscow to import luxury cars and other Western goods banned by earlier sanctions.

The European Commission sent a draft proposal for the 14th package of sanctions against Russia to EU countries, which includes, among other things, restrictions on LNG imports from Russia.

In April, European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis confirmed that the EU had begun work on the next, 14th package of sanctions against Russia over its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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