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EU agrees new measure targeting Russian sanctions evaders

EU member states set to enforce sanctions aimed at stopping other countries and companies from circumventing existing measures

Newly tightened sanctions targeting evasion bans access to EU ports for ships which engage in ship-to-ship transfers if there is cause to suspect the cargo was of Russian origin

EUROPEAN Union member states agreed an 11th package of sanctions on Wednesday confirming plans to ban access to EU ports for ships which engage in ship-to-ship transfers if there is cause to suspect the cargo was of Russian origin.

The sanctions, which are set to be formally adopted by the end of this week, will require member states to monitor potentially suspicious shipments, however the detailed guidance on how member states will apply the bans is yet to be published.

The latest package has been under discussion since early April and has been mired in political horse trading as states sought to remove continuous details and avoid diplomatic repercussions.

One area of heated debate was a list of private companies, including several Greek shipping companies, that Ukraine had labelled “war sponsors”.

Ukraine removed the five Greek shipping firms from its list overnight on Tuesday stating that their status had been “suspended for the period of bilateral consultations involving representatives of the European Commission”. That appears to have been sufficient to secure the backing of Greece for the sanctions package to move ahead.

The Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU tweeted the news that the agreement had been reached and included measures aimed at countering sanctions circumvention and individual listings.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the political agreement, saying that the package will "deal a further blow to Putin’s war machine with tightened export restrictions, targeting entities supporting the Kremlin."

The final text of the new package is expected to be published before the end of the week, however the now routine process of more detailed ‘FAQ guidance’ documents detailing the legal aspects and specific measures agreed will follow several days later. 

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