CEM REPORT | The European Union is planning to freeze the assets of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as the regional body agrees on new round of sanctions against Moscow, according to multiple reports Friday.
“We are moving as quickly as we can,” said one EU official, explaining that the latest round of sanctions would be followed by a third that may target “many more” Russian oligarchs
A surprising fact about this move is that the exact scope of Putin’s wealth is unknown. Bloomberg reported that his official annual income is around 10 million rubles ($120,850), and his properties include three cars and an apartment.
Earlier on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on Europe to promptly impose sanctions on Russia for launching a full-scale attack on Ukraine, saying the bloc should consider all measures, including kicking Russia out of SWIFT.
“You still can stop this aggression. You have to act swiftly,” he said, adding that banning Russians from entering the EU, cutting Moscow off from the SWIFT global interbank payments system and an oil embargo should all be on the table.
The bloc agreed in principle overnight Friday to impose “massive and targeted” sanctions on Russian banks and energy industry. Western countries ranging from Australia to Canada to Japan have joined the U.S., the EU and the United Kingdom in imposing economic sanctions on Russia after Putin officially recognized the pro-Russia states of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine as independent earlier this week.
The sanctions will also target Russian elites and make it tougher for diplomats to travel, but the EU leaders opted not to curb Russian energy imports, or – after objections from Germany and Italy, among others – cut Russia off from SWIFT.
However, President Joe Biden’s Thursday announced on new economic punishments on Moscow, including sanctions on four large Russian banks and Russian elites and their family members did not target Putin nor cut Moscow off from SWIFT.