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No longer hot air? Will the EU sanction Russia’s LNG sector?

Such a move could lead to a crack down on the re-export of Russian LNG from EU countries, but is unlikely to address EU imports of it. That could remain a sore point.

In what would be the first move of its kind, the EU may be considering sanctions against the Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector. As part of the 14th round of sanctions against Russia by the EU, these new measures would target the re-export of Russian LNG from EU countries.

Such a move would also crack down on the use of any EU facilities including the use of ports to ship Russian LNG, as well as any other goods which are seen to be directly contributing to Russia’s continued battle in Ukraine.

Not only that, but it would also compel EU companies and operators to be more careful of any potential violations in connection with sanctions, which might be punishable by fines or licence revocations.

It would also prevent EU companies and other organisations from getting involved in LNG projects in Russia, which could significantly reduce the expansion of the Russian LNG sector.
Are these potential new sanctions enough?

Over the past few months, the EU has been heavily criticised for failing to target the Russian LNG sector in its sanctions, choosing only to opt for its oil and coal instead. Regardless of the already imposed sanctions, Russia has continuously found loopholes around them, using the black market and third party countries to export its energy.

The EU has also faced allegations of not enforcing its sanctions strictly enough, allowing its own members states, as well as Russian players, to get away with a lot more than expected.

These latest sanctions are still unlikely to target EU imports of Russian LNG, meaning they could continue to be a source of controversy. Several parties, such as independent Ukrainian civil society movement “Razom We Stand”, have already accused EU countries such as Belgium, Spain and France of profiting from Russian LNG and indirectly continuing to fund the Russia-Ukraine war by not cutting down imports.

Razom We Stand’s founder and director, Svitlana Romanko, said in an email: “We’ve heard enough of big empty promises from hypocritical politicians. Those are the ones who speak out one side of their mouth, while the other side is directing state policy to buy more fossil fuels from Russia.

“This effectively puts billions of Euros into Putin’s war chest, which he uses to attack and bomb us every day. By importing Russian fossil fuels through their ports, Spain, France and Belgium are effectively funding the war and undermining their efforts to promote peace and stability in the region.

“A total embargo on Russian LNG gas should have been implemented two years ago, yet especially Spain, Belgium and France continue to profit from Russian LNG gas coming into their ports. This was is horrific, and we Ukrainians demand a complete EU embargo right now.

“Spain, Belgium and France must also finally show leadership by example and stop blocking efforts for the entire EU, in its coming 14th sanctions package , to place a full embargo on European purchase and transshipment of Russian fossil fuels, especially LNG gas.”
Source: Euronews

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