These European countries that continue to trade with Russia despite the sanctions – Liberation

War between Ukraine and Russiacase

Belgium, Greece, France and several European Union countries use exemptions or uncertainty from the blacklist to continue trading with Russia, but are the target of multiple sanctions.

Eight sanctions package. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the European Union has adopted numerous sanctions against Russia with a long blacklist: more than 1,200 people and 108 entities have been sanctioned, their assets have been frozen and they have been banned from entering the Union. A direct result of these sanctions: Since the start of the war, Russian imports to the EU have fallen by more than 60%, while European exports to Russia have fallen by a third.

If the EU creates a united front against Russia, it is actually not so simple. Trade in more than 1,000 product categories and subcategories has been banned. Ironically, some products slip through the cracks, allowing several European countries to continue their lucrative trade with Russia. This is Belgium and its appetite for diamonds, Greece and its oil companies, France and several other countries for uranium. New York Times.

“Russian diamonds are more important”

The export of rough diamonds from Russia to the Belgian port of Antwerp is particularly profitable. according to New York Times, which is 1.8 billion euros per year. Diamonds have never been blacklisted by European sanctions, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pointed out to the Belgian House of Representatives in March. “Defenders of Ukraine are fighting for the security of all Europe. he said in a video conference. We are fighting against the tyranny that wants to tear Europe apart, that wants to destroy what freedom is so important. But the Russian diamonds sold in Antwerp are more important, and the income from the Russian ships in their port is more important.

Trading will not go unpunished forever. Alrosa, the Russian group of diamond mining companies, and the trade more broadly, fare particularly well in proposals to blacklist the ninth package of sanctions against Russia, backed by Poland. But until the discussions on these new sanctions begin, the rough diamond market still has a bright future ahead of it.

Consultation on sanctions in Hungary

Greece, in turn, is doing everything to continue transporting Russian oil to non-European destinations. Also, according to the American daily newspaper, more than half of the oil tankers used by the Russians are owned by Greeks. Some experts even point to the difficulty of replacing the entire Greek fleet in the event of a withdrawal. Other countries like China and India can take advantage of this opportunity. The Greeks therefore maintain their dominance in the market and continue to facilitate the transportation of Russian oil. In view of the oil embargo, Greece offers transport at a reduced price to avoid bringing too much revenue to Russia.

As for more complex industries, sanctions are less clear cut. France, Hungary, Slovakia and even Finland depend on Russian uranium for their nuclear power plants. In order to continue energy production, these countries continue to import from Russia, taking advantage of the uncertainty of the sanctions.

Sanctions are certainly hard on Russia, but they are also hard on Europe. Hungary on Friday thus a “National consultation” About European sanctions. Of the seven questions in the form sent to eight million households, “Do you like sanctions that raise food prices?” thus increases “Risk of hunger in developing countries” and “migration pressure” On the borders of Europe. Nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who maintains good relations with the Kremlin, criticizes the European sanctions, which his country has nevertheless approved with 26 other member states. According to Viktor Orban, Hungarian citizens should respond to these sanctions by December 9. “European elite”.

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