In a significant move amidst escalating tensions, the European Union (EU) is said to be contemplating new sanctions against Russia, which could empower member states to seize Russian assets. The Finnish news agency STT has reported that these sanctions may be executed if the asset owners refuse to comply with a directive to sell.
Proposed Sanctions and Their Implications
The proposed sanctions, reportedly part of the 12th package of EU sanctions against Russia, could result in member states expropriating properties belonging to sanctioned Russians unwilling to put them on sale. The assets may be unblocked for a period of six months, allowing the owners to list the EU-based possessions for sale. The imminent regulations are expected to assist Finnish authorities in gaining control of Helsinki’s largest sports and events arena, the Helsinki Halli, formerly known as the Hartwall Arena.
Impact on Russian Entities and Individuals
The proposed sanctions aim to tighten the economic noose around Russian entities and individuals. These measures could potentially affect a broad spectrum of assets and investments within the EU’s jurisdiction. The sanctions are targeted against oligarchs Arkady Rotenberg, Boris Rotenberg, and Gennady Timchenko, who are close personal friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The EU has previously imposed sanctions on all three businessmen.
Sanctions Amidst Ongoing Conflicts
Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine beginning on 24 February 2022, the United States, the EU, and other Western countries introduced or significantly expanded sanctions covering Russian President Vladimir Putin, other government members, and Russian citizens in general. Some Russian banks were banned from using the SWIFT international payments system. The sanctions and boycotts of Russia and Belarus have had a profound impact on the Russian economy.
Russians prohibited from traveling abroad are required to surrender their passports within five days of receiving the travel ban notification, according to a government decree from November 22. Foreign travel bans can be imposed on conscripts, Federal Security Service employees, individuals with access to state secrets and information of special importance, and convicted persons.