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Exclusive EU sanctions more Russian oligarchs, Belarusian banks for invading Ukraine – sources

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FILE PHOTO: Plastic letters reading “Sanctions” are placed in front of the flag colors of the EU and Russia in this February 28, 2022 illustration. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

March 8, 2022

By Francesco Guarascio, Jan Strupczewski and John Chalmers

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission has prepared a new package of sanctions against Russia and Belarus over the invasion of Ukraine that will hit other Russian oligarchs and politicians as well as three Belarusian banks, three sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

The draft sanctions were approved by the EU executive on Tuesday morning and will be discussed by EU ambassadors at a meeting starting at 14:00 GMT, a source said.

The draft package will ban three Belarusian banks from the SWIFT banking system and put several more oligarchs and Russian lawmakers on the EU’s blacklist, the sources told Reuters.

The package also bans exports of naval equipment and software from the EU to Russia and offers guidance on monitoring cryptocurrencies to avoid using them to circumvent EU sanctions, the sources said.

Moscow describes its actions in Ukraine as a “special operation” to disarm its neighbor and arrest leaders it calls “neo-Nazis.” Ukraine and its western allies call this a baseless pretext for an invasion to conquer a country of 44 million people.

EU diplomats have so far approved the sanctions proposed by the EU Commission against Russia and Belarus without any changes.

The EU has already excluded seven Russian banks from SWIFT, but has not included Belarusian banks.

The sources declined to name the new lenders to be sanctioned.

According to one source, the package also listed oligarchs and members of Russia’s Federation Council, which is the upper house of Russia’s parliament.

So far, the EU sanctions have hit hundreds of members of the lower house, the Duma, who voted for Russia to recognize the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.

The EU will also extend its ban on EU exports of advanced technology to Russia, mainly supporting the maritime technology export ban, the sources said.

The ban on naval equipment and software exports to Russia is expected to hit the shipping sector in particular, a source said.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio, Jan Strupczewski and John Chalmers; Editing by Catherine Evans and Nick Macfie)

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Bobby Allyn

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