G7 plans to sanction Russia’s Energy, Exports

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Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations plan to tighten sanctions on Russia, with steps aimed at energy and exports aiding Moscow’s war effor, said officials with direct knowledge of the discussions.

New measures announced by the leaders during the May 19-21 meetings in Japan will target sanctions evasion involving third countries, and seek to undermine Russia’s future energy production and curb trade that supports Russia’s military, the people said.

Separately, U.S. officials also expect G7 members will agree to adjust their approach to sanctions so that, at least for certain categories of goods, all exports are automatically banned unless they are on a list of approved items.

The Biden administration has previously pushed G7 allies to reverse the group’s sanctions approach, which today allows all goods to be sold to Russia unless they are explicitly blacklisted.

That change could make it harder for Moscow to find gaps in the sanctions regime.

While the allies have not agreed to apply the more-restrictive approach broadly, U.S. officials expect that in the most sensitive areas for Russia’s military G7 members will adopt a presumption that exports are banned unless they are on a designated list.

The exact areas where these new rules would apply are still being discussed.

“You should expect to see, in a handful of spaces, particularly relating to Russia’s defense industrial base, that change in presumption happen,” said a U.S. official who declined to be named.

The precise language of the G7 leaders’ joint declarations is still subject to negotiation and adjustment before it is released during the summit. The G7 comprises the United States, Japan, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.

The G7 leaders’ action on Russia comes as Ukraine’s Western allies hunt for new ways to tighten already restrictive sanctions on Russia, from export controls to visa restrictions and an oil price cap, which have put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin but not halted the full-scale invasion that started over a year ago.

Reuters/Hauwa Abu

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