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regular-article-logo Saturday, 13 April 2024

EU to slap sanctions on Indian company for the first time for trading with Russia

3 Chinese firms also face curbs along with several others in Sri Lanka and Turkey; targeted companies seen as 'helping to supply equipment, particularly electronics and microchips, used by Russia to manufacture weapons used in the Ukraine war', sanctions to coincide with two-year anniversary of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine

Paran Balakrishnan Published 22.02.24, 11:58 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. Shutterstock

For the first time, an Indian company is going to be slapped with sanctions imposed by the European Union for trading with Russia. The company's name isn’t known yet but it will be published in the EU's legal journal and formally approved in time for the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine later this week..

Three Chinese companies will also face sanctions and so will smaller businesses in Sri Lanka, Turkey, Thailand, Serbia and Kazakhstan, the Financial Times reported, saying it’s seen the EU documents on the sanctions.

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The companies targeted will be ones "identified as helping to supply equipment, particularly electronics and microchips, used by Russia to manufacture weapons or other equipment used in its war against Ukraine."

This is the first time that Indian and Chinese companies have been hit by sanctions. This is the 13th package of EU sanctions that have targeted about 200 individuals and entities worldwide.

"We must keep degrading Putin's war machine (and) keep the pressure high on the Kremlin," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen declared when the sanctions package was announced.

February 24 will mark two years since the Russia-Ukraine war began. Russia is beginning to make some gains as military support from the West slows to Ukraine despite pleas for more help from Kyiv.

The EU is particularly annoyed that Russia is continuing to, "produce large numbers of drones, missiles, tanks and other weapons despite extensive Western trade bans," the FT said.

Brussels is gunning for “certain other entities in third countries that indirectly support Russia's military and industrial complex .... by trading in such components," according to the EU document cited by the FT.

India exported $179 million of electrical and electronic equipment to Russia in 2022 though most of these were almost certainly non-military items, according to the UN's Comtrade database.

The EU had earlier abandoned plans to impose more sanctions because of opposition from Hungary and also because some European countries, including Germany, were worried about antagonising China.

Hungary has now dropped its opposition to the sanctions and there has been a hardening of EU positions following the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny last week in a remote Siberian penal colony.

Another package of sanctions could be on the way in response to Navalny's death. The UK has already imposed sanctions on six Russian prison managers, an action regarded as mainly symbolic and the US is vowing “major sanctions” on Moscow.

The West has turned a blind eye to India becoming one of the biggest purchasers of discounted Russian oil. Foreign minister S. Jaishankar was described as “smart” during his recent German trip to attend the Munich Security Conference.

India has bought Russian oil worth $37 billion since Moscow launched its invasion. India says re-exports by India of processed Russian fuel has helped tame global inflation. “People should be saying ‘thank you’ “ to India, he said.

Jaishankar said India and Russia have always shared “stable and friendly ties” and that Europe needs to understand that India cannot regard Russia in the same light as the Europeans. “If I look at the history of India post-independence, Russia has never hurt our interests,” he said.

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