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New sanctions package on Russia will cover Iranian entities

The president of the European Commission revealed today that the tenth package of sanctions against Russia for the military aggression against Ukraine will cover, for the first time, Iranian entities, including those linked to the Revolutionary Guard, for their “atrocious” support to the Kremlin.

Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, in a debate on “the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion and war of aggression” in Ukraine, which marks February 24, Ursula von der Leyen said that the European Union will continue to “weaken Russia’s ability to maintain its war machine”, and revealed some of the sanctions envisaged in the tenth package, currently being discussed with member states.

The new package, which will have a global impact of around 11 billion euros, revealed, will include “new trade bans and new controls on the export of technology to Russia”, namely “restrictions on the export of multiple electronic components used in armed systems Russians – such as drones, missiles, helicopters”.

“But there are also hundreds of Iranian drones used by Russia on the battlefields in Ukraine. These Iranian-made drones kill Ukrainian civilians, and it’s atrocious. Therefore, for the first time, we also propose sanctioning Iranian entities, including those linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. It is our duty to sanction them and confront Iran over supplying drones and transferring know-how to build production sites in Russia,” she declared.

Taking stock of the Union’s response to almost a year of conflict, Von der Leyen commented that Russian President Vladimir Putin “assumed that EU support for Ukraine would not last”, as he judged that “it would be easy to keep Europe as hostage, due to dependence on Russian oil and gas”, noting that “here, too, was wrong”.

“Today, a year after the start of the war, he has already lost the energy war he started. We have repositioned ourselves, thanks to trusted partners, and the results can be seen. Russia’s income from gas sales to Europe has declined by two-thirds. The oil price cap means Russia is losing €160 million in revenue every day. Gas prices in Europe are today lower than before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Europe is now investing in clean energy and energy independence like never before,” he pointed out.

“With European unity and a smart energy policy, we have resisted Russian pressure and freed ourselves from our energy dependency. Our economy today is performing significantly better than expected and, at the beginning of the week, we were able to revise our growth forecasts upwards. On the contrary, the Kremlin is having to sell gold reserves to fill the gaps left by the lack of oil revenues. Putin’s attempt to blackmail Europe using energy has been a failure across the board,” he added.

Recalling the night of February 24, 2022, when the world watched in disbelief as Russian tanks entered Ukrainian territory and the war returned to Europe, Von der Leyen repeatedly praised “the bravery of the Ukrainian nation” and highlighted the support given by the EU to Kiev since the first moments of the conflict, and which continues after almost a year.

“What a difference a year of unity and determination can make. At dawn on February 24, when Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, an entire continent held its breath. Some predicted that Ukraine would fall in a matter of days. But instead, the legendary bravery of the Ukrainian people amazed the world,” he said.

“We can never match the sacrifice and bravery of the Ukrainian people. But we can be firmly on your side. And that’s what we did. A whole continent has mobilized”, he said, reviewing all the support given by the Union to Ukraine at the most diverse levels, which, as a whole, already amount to 67 billion euros.

Also addressing the European ambitions of Ukraine, a country to which the EU granted candidate status for accession in June last year, Ursula von der Leyen highlighted the fact that Ukrainians are managing to “make tangible progress every day, while fighting a war”.

“They know that joining our Union is a merit-based process. They passed legislative reforms that others thought would take years. They are making this progress because they are fighting for Europe with all their heart and soul. Ukraine is a nation defined not only by its history and heritage. It is a nation defined by its dreams. And Europe is one of those dreams. Let us honor these dreams by defending Ukraine for as long as it takes. So that, one day, the representatives of the Ukrainian people will also have their place in this very house ”, she said, thus ending her speech before the European Parliament.

*With Lusa

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