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The European Union is working on a new package of sanctions against Russia that will target banks, particularly Sberbank, a major leasing entity, Reuters reported.
The European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen revealed the EU’s plans in an interview with Bild am Sonntag, a German newspaper.
“We are looking further at the banking sector, especially Sberbank, which accounts for 37% of the Russian banking sector. And, of course, there are energy issues,” Leyen told the publication.
Notably, the US, the UK and Japan have already announced full blocking sanctions against Sberbank.
Sberbank, along with Gazprombank, has not been subject to sanctions from the EU because they serve as one of the key channels for payment for Russian energy imports by EU nations, which has been uninterrupted despite Russia’s continued aggression toward Ukraine.
The new package of sanctions the EU is working on will also cover oil, she said.
“What should not happen is that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin collects even higher prices on other markets for supplies that would otherwise go to the EU,” the commission’s chief was quoted as saying.
Last week, the EU announced full blocking sanctions against four key Russian lenders that include Bank Otkritie, Novikombank, Sovcombank, and VTB Bank.
According to the EU, these banks represent 23% of the Russian banking industry and the new sanctions will freeze their assets and completely cut them off from the EU markets.