European Union to Further Escalate Sanctions Against Russia, according to Politico

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jan.23 - 2024 2:05 PM CET

European Union to Further Escalate Sanctions Against Russia.

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According to a recent report by Politico, the European Union is contemplating imposing an embargo on Russian aluminum as part of its 13th package of sanctions. This new set of sanctions, which is still under discussion among EU members, comes in response to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The focus on Russian aluminum in the EU’s upcoming sanction package was highlighted in the Politico report, citing unnamed EU diplomats. This decision is significant, considering that previous sanctions packages had left approximately 85% of Russian aluminum exports to the EU unaffected, as per the trade organization European Aluminium.

An anonymous diplomat indicated that a complete ban on Russian aluminum is on the table for discussion. Another source mentioned that EU countries aim to finalize the sanction package before February 24, marking the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

One of the diplomats explained that targeting aluminum in the sanctions is a strategic move, as energy prices are a major component in aluminum smelting, constituting up to 40% of the costs. This would indirectly impact the Russian energy sector.

Given that many major items like nuclear or Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) are either already sanctioned or not available for sanction, the focus has shifted to the metal embargo. "All of the big items are already sanctioned," said a senior EU diplomat, emphasizing the need to look for new areas to apply pressure.

The proposal for a metal embargo has come under scrutiny, as certain Eastern EU countries, including Hungary, have historically opposed sanctions on Russia's nuclear sector, where Rosatom is involved in building new reactors. Similarly, many EU countries have resisted sanctioning Russian LNG.

However, nations like Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are pushing for broader sanctions, including a ban on LNG and aluminum imports and additional measures in the aviation sector, as reported by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

The discussions reflect the EU's continued effort to tighten its economic response to Russia's ongoing aggression in Ukraine.