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EU states approve 14th sanctions package against Russia, diplomats say

By Thomson Reuters Jun 20, 2024 | 3:43 AM

By Julia Payne

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union countries approved a 14th package of sanctions against Russia over its war in Ukraine, diplomats said on Thursday, including a ban on re-exports of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) in EU waters.

Belgium, which holds the rotating EU presidency until July 1, said on the X platform that the package “maximises the impact of existing sanctions by closing loopholes”.

Countries debated the new measures for over a month and ultimately watered down one of the Commission’s proposals, aimed at preventing even more circumvention, at Germany’s prompting.

The dropped measure would have forced subsidiaries of EU companies in third countries to contractually prohibit the re-exports of their goods to Russia. The EU is keen to stop the flow of dual-use technology such as washing machine chips that could be used by Russia for military purposes.

An EU diplomat said Germany had asked for an impact assessment, and the measure could be included at a later date.

The ban on trans-shipments is the first restriction the bloc has applied to LNG. However, gas market experts say the measure will have little impact as Europe is still buying Russian gas itself, and trans-shipments via EU ports to Asia represent only around 10% of total Russian LNG exports.

(Reporting by Julia Payne; editing by Kevin Liffey and Mark Heinrich)