By Francesco Guarascio
BRUSSELS – The EU is set to add Russia’s top lender Sberbank and the head of giant zinc and copper firm UMMC to its list of individuals and companies banned for supporting Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, according to draft documents seen by Reuters.
The 48 individuals and nine entities to be added to the sanctions list, prepared by the EU foreign affairs service, also include a motorcycle club, actors, politicians and family members of previously sanctioned businesspeople.
Adding Sberbank would freeze its assets in the West and completely prevent transactions with the exception of financial operations for the trade in food and fertiliser, an EU official told Reuters.
Russia’s largest lender had already been excluded from the SWIFT bank messaging system, hampering its ability to conduct business.
Transactions for the wind-down of its subsidiary in Europe will continue to be allowed for six months, according to the official and one of the documents.
Sanctions rules will however be revised to ensure Russian banks previously added to the list can use some frozen funds to trade food and fertilizers, a measure meant to eliminate inadvertent hurdles to global food trade. [L1N2Z00LX]
The head of zinc and copper giant UMMC, Andrei Kozitsyn, is being added to the list as deemed to be “involved in economic sectors providing a substantial source of revenue to the government”, the document said.
The move, expected to be adopted on Wednesday, would take to 1,229 the total number of individuals banned by the EU over the war in Ukraine, and increase to 110 the number of listed companies.
Among newly sanctioned people is Sergei Korolev, First Deputy Director of the Russian FSB security service. The document says he “is indicated as a potential replacement” for FSB head Alexander Bortnikov, already under sanctions.
Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, is added to the list, accused of being “one of the most involved persons in the illegal transportation of Ukrainian children to Russia and their adoption by Russian families”.
Ukraine has accused Moscow of having relocated more than 200,000 children to Russia since the start of the conflict in February. Russia denies forcibly deporting Ukrainians and says it has taken in refugees.
Russia’s Night Wolves motorcycle club and its leaders are to be sanctioned, among them Josef Hambalek, president of the club’s European chapter, accused of training members in a camp in Slovakia for combat in Ukraine. He “has close ties with the former Slovakian government and can be connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin,” the document says.
Among family members of previously sanctioned business figures added to the list are Stanislav Chemezov, son of the chairman of defence giant Rostec, and Maya Bolotova, daughter of Nikolay Tokarev, the head of energy company Transneft.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin is to be added to the list, as are Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov, actors Sergei Bezrukov and Vladimir Mashkov, and heads of public authorities set up by Russia in occupied parts of Ukraine, including the mayors of Mariupol and Kherson.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; Editing by Peter Graff)