New EU sanctions set to cut Russia off from IMF, World Bank


ANKARA — The EU is preparing a fresh round of tougher sanctions against Russia over its war on Ukraine, said the European Commission head on Friday, adding that the bloc will work to “suspend Russia’s membership rights in leading multilateral financial institutions,” including the IMF and World Bank.

“We will deny Russia the status of most-favored-nation in our markets. This will revoke important benefits that Russia enjoys as a WTO (World Trade Organisation) member,” Anadolu Agency reported Ursula von der Leyen said.

Saying Russian companies will no longer have a privileged position in the EU, she vowed: “We will ensure that Russia cannot obtain financing, loans, or any other benefits from these institutions.”

She also said they are working so that the “Russian state and its elites cannot use crypto assets to circumvent the sanctions.”

Anadolu Agency reported that the EU, she added, will ban the exports of any EU luxury goods from countries of the bloc to Russia, saying: “Those who sustain Putin’s war machine should no longer be able to enjoy their lavish lifestyle while bombs fall on innocent people in Ukraine.”

Imports of key iron and steel goods from Russia will also be prohibited, von der Leyen said, adding that the EU will propose a big ban on new European investments across Russia’s energy sector.

“This ban will cover all investments, technology transfers, financial services, etc. for energy exploration and production,” she noted.

The EU on Friday disbursed €300 million (US$327 million) in emergency macro-financial assistance to support Ukraine’s finances as part of the first tranche of a €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) financial aid package, she said.

“More will follow. This crisis is unprecedented. And so is the unity and speed of reaction our democracies have shown so far. Ukraine will prevail,” said von der Leyen.

At least 564 civilians have been killed and 957 others injured in Ukraine since the beginning of the war on Feb. 24, the UN has said, while also cautioning that conditions on the ground make it difficult to verify the true number.

Over 2.5 million people have fled to neighboring countries, with about 2 million more estimated to be displaced inside Ukraine, according to the UN refugee agency.