By boscorelli @

Countries helping Russia circumvent European Union sanctions are being targeted by a new round of rules. Henry Foy reports in the Financial Times:

The EU has agreed on an 11th package of economic sanctions aimed at punishing Russia for invading Ukraine, including unprecedented new powers to punish countries suspected of helping Moscow circumvent the existing restrictions.

The new measures come as G7 states seek to tighten loopholes faster than Moscow can find new ways to evade them and crack down on routes that are supplying the Kremlin with goods and technologies used to manufacture weapons for the war.

The EU, US and UK have in recent months stepped up pressure on countries such as Turkey, Armenia, the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan that have, since the war began in February 2022, increased imports of western technology that can also be used by the military while expanding exports to Russia.

The measures were agreed by member state ambassadors on Wednesday after weeks of debate over the targeting of Chinese companies accused of sanctions evasion. After multiple countries objected, fearing reprisals from Beijing, just three Hong Kong-listed companies were included, according to officials.

The sanctions, which are set to be formally adopted by the end of this week, include “exceptional, last-resort measures restricting the sale, supply, transfer or export” of sensitive technology that can be used for military purposes to countries “whose jurisdiction is demonstrated to be at a continuing and particularly high risk of being used for circumvention”, according to a document seen by the Financial Times.

The move takes the EU into new territory of targeting third countries and would require both proof that they are involved in sanctions evasion and that they have refused to comply with repeated warnings.

The new package also bans the “transit via the territory of Russia of goods and technology which might contribute to Russia’s military and technological enhancement”. FT research last month showed that more than $1bn of Moscow’s “ghost trade” with sanctioned EU goods never reached their stated destinations in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia.

Read more here.