EU weighs sanctions on some of Russia’s wealthiest tycoons

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
To pressure President Vladimir Putin, the EU is discussing sanctions on executives of Russian state-owned companies and other prominent businesspeople.
(Associated Press)
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The European Union is discussing sanctioning some of Russia’s wealthiest tycoons as well as top officials in state companies and media in a further ratcheting up of its penalties for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, according to documents seen by Bloomberg.

The list, which still needs to be approved by European governments and could change before that happens, includes a handful of billionaires who haven’t yet been hit by sanctions in the U.S.: metals tycoon Alisher Usmanov, Alfa Group owners Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven, plus Alexei Mordashov, who controls a major steel company.

Also proposed for restrictions are President Vladimir Putin’s longtime spokesman Dmitry Peskov, as well as a number of state-media figures the EU accuses in the documents of spreading disinformation. Cellist and longtime Putin friend Sergei Roldugin is on the proposed list.


The EU is also looking to include executives at top state companies, as well as military and security officials, many of whom have already been sanctioned by the U.S. in recent years. The proposed list includes Igor Sechin, chief executive of oil company Rosneft, and Nikolay Tokarev, CEO of oil company Transneft.

The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, told reporters Sunday that “we have agreed to increase the peoples and entities that are going to be subject to restrictive measures.” He said the full list would be finished at a meeting of EU ambassadors.

“This includes Russian oligarchs and businessmen whose listing carries huge economic impact and political figures who hold key roles in the Putin system in Russia,” he said.


The EU has announced it will cut some Russian banks out of SWIFT, the international payment system, and impose restrictions on the country’s central bank, in a move coordinated with the U.S. and the United Kingdom. Earlier on Sunday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the bloc would ban Russian state-backed media RT and Sputnik, bar Russian aircraft from EU airspace and increase military aid to Ukraine.

Initial sanctions on 23 high-ranking individuals agreed upon last week in retaliation for Putin’s recognition of separatist territories in eastern Ukraine included banking executives, military chiefs, media figures and a top Kremlin official, but not that many billionaires.