G7 leaders agree on no new sanctions, want to close loopholes

(EurActiv, 24 Mar 2022) Leaders of the world’s most developed nations agreed on Thursday (24 March) to work together on implementing the sanctions currently in force against Russia so that they cannot be circumvented through evasive actions by Russian entities, but did not agree on any new sanctions against Moscow.

Instead, the G7 leaders, meeting in Brussels between a NATO summit in the morning and a later EU summit, reiterated their condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and urged oil-producing countries to step up production and supply to international markets, perturbed by the war, Russia sanctions and rising energy prices.

Instead of a new set of sanctions, they said they want to focus on closer cooperation in implementing those already in place. “We have decided on a seamless implementation of the sanctions,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who presides over the G7 this year, told a press conference after the summit.

Close the loopholes

Now that the sanctions have been in force for some weeks, some loopholes have become apparent.

For example, Russia’s central bank has been able to stabilise the ruble after an initial plunge even though a large part of its international reserves are frozen. The high commodities prices and the continued demand for Russian energy from Europe and the rest of the world helped to support the demand for the ruble.

Moreover, the central bank seems to still be able to use its gold reserves to stabilise the ruble, which the G7 leaders are trying to stop.

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EurActiv, 24 Mar 2022: G7 leaders agree on no new sanctions, want to close loopholes