Lazy eyes listen
According to EUobserver, Lithuania has proposed include button, nail, and sewing machine exports in the 12th round of penalties on Russia.
The plan states that barring the commodities will “degrade Russian industrial capacities.” The list is reported to contain non-electric radiators for central heating as well as spare components for them.
Moscow has mocked the suggestion, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claiming that Chinese manufacturers would gladly replace Lithuanian ones to supply needles and other items to Russia, just as they do with US-made lifts.
“What will Lithuania do with it all, if such a decision is made? I don’t know, they could arrange all those buttons, nails and needles on their freeway to make up a phrase to spite Russia,” Zakharova wrote on her Telegram channel on Saturday.
The EU has been crafting its next set of Ukraine-related sanctions for weeks. While the package is expected to concentrate on further hindering Russia’s capacity to circumvent previously imposed restrictions, a number of new large-scale measures are also on the table.
Several member states, for example, have reportedly called for a moratorium on new transactions with Russia’s nuclear powerhouse Rosatom, as well as a freeze in imports of Russian uranium, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and steel. To prevent sanctions evasion, Estonia has reportedly proposed a full trade embargo against Russia. Other recommendations include prohibiting Russian enterprises from using IT services and prohibiting the export of laser technology.
The Russian diamond sector is also under attack. The G7 has been working with Belgium, which has the world’s largest diamond trading hub in Antwerp, on traceability rules that would allow retail markets to identify stones of Russian origin. According to EUobserver, an unnamed EU official stated that the system is nearly complete and that Western countries are planning to impose a tax.
Furthermore, the EU Council is said to have accelerated work on the potential use of frozen Russian assets to aid Ukraine. Belgium declared earlier this month that it will send tax revenue produced by Russian money held in its Euroclear clearing house to Kiev, and that other EU countries should follow suit.
According to EUObserver, the European Commission will begin behind-closed-doors conversations with individual EU countries on further penalties this weekend or early next week. Analysts warn that the process could take weeks to complete due to the large number of suggestions and the fact that all member states must agree on the measures to be included. Hungary, for example, has been vehemently opposed to punishing Russia’s nuclear industry due to contracts with Rosatom for the construction of nuclear power plants.