Espreso. Global

How Russian loopholes in evading sanctions are closed

28 March, 2023 Tuesday

This is a long process, but it significantly increases the effectiveness of sanctions

Prior to the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia was a significant participant, though not the only one, in world trade. In most markets, such as gas, oil, and metallurgy, which form a crucial system for the Russian Federation, its share in world exports was approximately 10%. However, it held a dominant position in the European gas market, accounting for over 40% of it until recently.

Considering Russia's size, it's impossible to eliminate its presence in world trade entirely. Therefore, it will continue to resist and devise various schemes and bypass options as long as resources are available.

On the other hand, Russia isn't substantial enough on a global scale to be "immediately needed". Thus, the sanctions imposed by Ukraine's allies are gradually encouraging the world to function without Russia. These steps must persist incessantly to maintain the trend:

1. The 11th round of EU sanctions against Russia will target the evasion of previously imposed restrictive measures against Moscow, according to Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission. 

While Russia may not be essential on a global scale in the immediate sense of the word, the gradual imposition of sanctions by Ukraine's allies is teaching the world to function without it. The timing of this event is crucial, particularly since the measures outlined in the 10th round need to be strengthened.

Global Witness, a British NGO, has released a report indicating that Russian oil is being sold systematically at prices higher than the $60 "ceiling" established by the G7 nations in December 2022. Despite this, its stock price has remained below $50 for an extended period. However, hackers have been able to find loopholes through the use of various schemes such as the mixing of different types of oil and transportation by a "gray" tanker fleet.

It is now time to close the loopholes that have become apparent and uncover new ones. Although a lengthy process, it significantly enhances the effectiveness of sanctions.

2. The EU and NATO are devising strategies to circumvent Hungary's attempts to block aid to Ukraine and to impede anti-Russian actions.

Despite Hungary's reluctance, a meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Commission at the foreign ministers' level will soon take place in Brussels. The Alliance has found a procedural approach to prevent Budapest from utilizing the right of veto.

Earlier, in December, the EU was able to allocate EUR 18 billion in aid to Ukraine, effectively bypassing Hungary's objections.

Despite Hungary's reluctance, a meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Commission at the foreign ministers' level will soon take place in Brussels. The Alliance has found a procedural approach to prevent Budapest from utilizing the right of veto

As Hungary is reliant on EU funds and NATO protection, it cannot continue to blackmail these alliances indefinitely. In the meantime, the allies are severing the ties that bind Hungary to Russia. According to the Financial Times, Hungary has commenced negotiations with France to increase its participation in the expansion project of the Hungarian nuclear power plant Paks, which is currently predominantly managed by the Russian state company Rosatom. Given that France is among the opponents of the implementation of sanctions against Rosatom, its involvement in pushing Russia out of the European nuclear market is a strategic move. Notably, the French state-owned nuclear reactor manufacturer Framatome acts as a contractor for Rosatom in Hungary, and it must provide the power plant control systems together with the German company Siemens. Therefore, it is probable that the Russian mediator will be eventually pushed out.

3. According to a spokesperson for the Indian Air Force, plans for a significant supply of weapons from Russia this year have been canceled due to the Russian Federation's aggression in Ukraine. The planned supply likely included aircraft, components for them, and the S-400 air defense system.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Russia's global arms export market share dropped from 22% to 16% between 2017 and 2022, with the aggression against Ukraine serving as a detrimental factor for Russian weapons sales.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Russia's global arms export market share dropped from 22% to 16% between 2017 and 2022, with the aggression against Ukraine serving as a detrimental factor for Russian weapons sales

4. In lieu of the canceled Russian arms supply, the European Union leaders have approved the joint purchase of ammunition for Ukraine and have also expressed support for missile supplies, if necessary.

5. According to the conclusions adopted at the European Council meeting in Brussels, the European Union is committed to ensuring full accountability for war crimes and other serious crimes committed in connection with Russia's aggressive war against Ukraine. To this end, the EU intends to establish an appropriate mechanism for prosecuting the crime of aggression, which is a matter of concern for the entire international community.

The European Council welcomes the agreement on the establishment of a new international prosecution center for the crime of aggression against Ukraine, which will be associated with the Joint Investigative Group supported by Eurojust. The document also reaffirms the Council's support for the investigations conducted by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

These mechanisms will not only prosecute Russian criminals but also create a legal basis for the confiscation of assets belonging to Russian public and private individuals in favor of Ukraine. 


About the author. Rostyslav Pavlenko, Ukrainian politician, political scientist, lecturer. People's Deputy of Ukraine of the 9th convocation

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.

Read also:
  • News
2023, Friday
2 June
Russian troops nearly destroyed ZNPP's emergency systems, safety situation is worsening every day 
Responses to events in Belgorod region indicate growing anxiety in Russian society
Biden: US and partners will train Ukrainian pilots on 4th-generation fighters, including F-16
Russian troops lose positions east of Vuhledar - Ukrainian Armed Forces serviceman Voitko
UK’s Prime Minister supports NATO Chief in saying Ukraine belongs in NATO
General Milley: Tanks will provide greatest firepower for Ukraine's counteroffensive
Night attack on Ukraine on June 2: air defense shoots down over 30 air targets in Kyiv and Mykolaiv region. There are 2 injured
Russian Volunteer Corps and Freedom of Russia Legion announce second raid phase. Belgorod authorities react
Russia’s Kursk residents report explosions. Authorities claim shelling by Ukrainian UAVs
European Parliament supports increased production of ammunition for Ukraine
Russia has lost over 60,000 troops in Bakhmut
Russia loses another 540 soldiers, 15 tanks and 10 cruise missiles 
Russia attacks Ukraine at night with 15 missiles and 18 Shaheds - AFU General Staff
Russian forces deploy military personnel, equipment on St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral's premises in Melitopol – General Staff
Victorious news of 463rd day of war: Pentagon orders Gepard for Ukraine, Russian Volunteer Corps re-enters Belgorod region
Pentagon to buy Starlink terminals for Ukraine from SpaceX
Russia concentrates forces in Kupiansk sector, forms diverse group – military commander
2023, Thursday
1 June
Russian forces recruit drivers from occupied territories to their agent network
Russian Liberation Army growing, everything on track, Belgorod ahead – Russia’s armed resistance
Ukraine receives new military aid package from Germany
Pentagon orders Gepard air defense systems for Ukraine worth nearly $120 million
Belgorod authorities report drone crash on road, injuring two people
Russia's nuclear weapons for Lukashenko are explosive belt on him, his regime
Russia does not have enough forces in Belarus to invade Ukraine – State Border Guard Service 
Kadyrov soldiers at front: ISW passes off Prava Sprava's insights as its own intelligence
Flag that Ukrainian MP took away from Russian at PABSEC summit to be sold at United24 auction
Zelenskyy, Iohannis sign joint declaration of support for Ukraine's accession to NATO 
Russia blocks registration of ships, flagrantly violating grain initiative
Russia covers rotation of its forces near Bakhmut with heavy artillery fire
Why I call our war World War III
Russia changes names, birth dates of children illegally deported from Ukraine
Swiss defense firm asks government to allow export of Leopard 1 tanks
UN Security Council should see video of Russians killing Ukrainian child on International Children's Day
Why supporting Ukraine is profitable for the US
Ukrainian Prosecutor's Office investigates more than 1,000 criminal proceedings on Russian war crimes against children
Air Force says Ukraine will not use Western weapons to strike at Iskander locations in Russia
It's not about possible arrest: diplomat Chaly explains why Putin will not visit Erdogan's inauguration
Russia attacks 9 regions of Ukraine at night, killing and injuring civilians
We will try to bolster Air Defense Forces of Ukraine — Blinken 
Commander of Ukraine’s Land Forces speaks about situation in Bakhmut
More news