With 10 rounds of sanctions since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year, the European Union has rolled out its toughest sanctions ever imposed on a foreign country.
The EU said its sanctions were aimed at reducing Moscow’s revenue and access to technology used in the war.
But the impact “will not be severe enough to limit Russia’s ability to wage war on Ukraine in 2023”, according to a European Parliament research note.
Much trade still flows between the bloc’s 27 countries and Russia – the result of successful lobbying, the EU’s reluctance to take a bigger economic hit and concerns about the ripple effects on the chains global supplies.
Rather than seek new sanctions, the EU now wants to crack down on circumventing those already imposed, and officials have identified the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan as avenues. potential bypasses.
Here is a list of areas where the EU continues to do business with Russia.
In 2021, Russia was the EU’s fifth-largest trading partner with trade in goods worth 258 billion euros ($280 billion), according to the EU’s executive European Commission. The main EU imports were fuel, timber, iron and steel, and fertilizers.
Since the 2022 invasion, the value of EU imports from Russia has halved to about 10 billion euros ($10.85 billion) last December.
In total, the EU imported 171 billion euros ($186 billion) worth of goods from Russia, from March 2022 to the end of January 2023, according to the latest available data from Eurostat, the statistics office of the EU.
That figure dwarfs the 60 billion euros ($65 billion) the EU said last month it had allocated to Ukraine in the year since the invasion, although that total does not does not include the value of the modern tanks that Kiev has since sent, nor the latest ammunition supply agreement.
The EU sanctioned imports of Russian coal and maritime oil last year. The gas is not covered by EU sanctions, but Moscow has cut pipeline deliveries to Europe since the invasion. In 2022, the EU received about 40% less Russian gas than in recent years.
Liquefied natural gas is another story. Russian LNG deliveries to Europe have increased since the war – to 22 bcm in 2022, from around 16 bcm in 2021, according to an EU analysis.
LNG volumes are lower than pipeline gas deliveries from Russia, which were about 155 bcm per year before the war. But the rise has led some countries to seek a legal option under EU law to block LNG imports.
Likewise, there have been no sanctions against Russia’s nuclear industry, which Hungary – where Russian nuclear energy company Rosatom is due to expand the Paks power station – and Bulgaria have openly agreed to. opposites.
EU imports of Russian nuclear industry products totaled nearly 750 million euros ($814 billion) in 2022, according to Eurostat. Europe’s nuclear agency Euratom said Russia supplied a fifth of the uranium used by EU utilities in 2021, the latest data available, along with a quarter of conversion services and a third of services of enrichment.
France’s energy ministry disputed parts of a Greenpeace report, which last month said Paris had sharply increased its imports of enriched uranium from Russia since the invasion. Paris said its contracts with Russia would be more expensive to stop than to continue.
The EU bought 1.4 billion euros ($1.52) worth of Russian diamonds last year, according to Eurostat, because it neither banned gemstone imports nor blacklisted the mining company Alrosa, controlled by the Russian state.
Belgium, home to the world’s biggest diamond trading hub, Antwerp, has upset the bloc’s hawks by lobbying against the EU going it alone in Russian diamonds.
The EU, US and other G7 economies are currently working on a traceability system to mine Russian diamonds together. The World Diamond Center in Antwerp said India – which is not a member of the G7 – needed to be included to be effective.
Chemicals and raw materials
European imports of Russian fertilizers amounted to 2.6 billion euros ($2.82 billion) last year, more than 40% more than in 2021, as the rise in prices exceeded the reduced volumes, according to Eurostat.
Potash from Russia and its ally Belarus is heavily regulated or banned in the EU. But other fertilisers, including urea, flow freely, said Sean Mackle of industry lobby Fertilizers Europe, adding that the uneven approach weighed on implementation.
Disagreement among the 27 EU countries over proposed exemptions for fertilizers to continue to go to Africa has stalled further sanctions against Belarus for aiding Russia in the war.
Among the raw materials not affected by the sanctions is nickel, which is mainly used for the production of stainless steel. The EU imported €2.1 billion worth of nickel in 2021, up from €3.2 billion ($3.47 billion) last year, according to Eurostat.
Big names and secondary sanctions
Alrosa and Rosatom are absent from the EU blacklist, which currently covers nearly 1,700 people and entities banned from the bloc. Gazprombank – the financial arm of Russian gas monopoly Gazprom GAZP.MM – and Russia’s second largest private oil producer Lukoil are also missing.
Transparency International has long called for a reduction in Russia’s access to EU lobbying and secondary sanctions to punish those who help others already under sanctions, as is common practice in the United States.