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EU Passes More Russia Sanctions, Blacklists Deputy Minister

In relation to a dispute over Siemens turbines installed in Crimea

The European Commission has decided to broaden sanctions against Moscow on Friday. As RT notes, more Russian individuals and firms accused of delivering Siemens gas turbines to the Crimea have been blacklisted.

The updated blacklist includes Russian Deputy Energy Minister Andrey Cherezov, the head of the department of operational control and management in Russia's electric power industry Evgeniy Grabchak and state firm Technopromexport CEO Sergey Topor-Gilka.

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As we detailed earlier, this was expected.

The European Union is expected Friday to expand sanctions against Russian individuals and companies that were allegedly involved in the transportation of at least four Siemens turbines to Russian-controlled Crimea in violation of an international ban, according to Reuters.

EU states have until later on Friday to submit any complaints to the proposal to extend the Russia blacklist. Two diplomatic sources said it looked like there will be no obstacles and the decision will be taken.

Germany proposed last month to put four more Russian nationals - including from the energy ministry - on the blacklist, as well as three Russian firms, including the one that delivered the turbines to the peninsula.

EU states need unanimity to introduce sanctions and one source said, however, one of the names has been removed from the original proposal after Italian objections.”

The expansion puts the EU – and Germany in particular – in an awkward position: Representatives of the trade bloc have recently expressed outrage at the US over a sanctions bill signed by President Donald Trump that they say could unfairly infringe on the EU-Russia bilateral trade relationship.  

European Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker earlier this week criticized the US for not consulting the EU before moving ahead with the sanctions bill, threatening reprisals should they damage bilateral trading relations. Trump reluctantly signed the sanctions into law earlier this week after expressing his displeasure with the bill in a signing statement that criticized Congress for further escalating tensions between the two countries.

According to Reuters, the US sanctions will make it more difficult for Russia to build two gas export pipelines to Europe. However, Reuters reports that the two projects are still expected to move forward. Last month, Russian oil giant Gazprom warned investors last month that the sanctions "may result in delays, or otherwise impair or prevent the completion of the projects by the group."

“The Kremlin, dependent on oil and gas revenues, sees the pipelines to Germany and Turkey - Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream - as crucial to increasing its market share in Europe.

It also fears that Western partners - needed to develop the deepwater, shale and Arctic gas deposits that will fill the pipelines - will be scared off by sanctions.

Gazprom warned investors last month that the sanctions ‘may result in delays, or otherwise impair or prevent the completion of the projects by the group.’”

With this in mind, the Russian gas giant is taking steps to reduce the impact of sanctions, even as the heightened risks are expected to drive up costs and make it more difficult for Gazprom, the Russian oil giant that’s building the German Nordstream 2 pipeline.

"The price of any project automatically increases," said Tatiana Mitrova, director of the Skolkovo Energy Center.

"Gazprom's relationships with partners, subcontractors, and equipment and service providers are severely complicated," she said. "They will all ask for a risk premium."

Siemens, which insists that it was unaware that the turbines had been moved, has said in statements to the media that it was used as an “unwitting pawn” to help fulfill a promise made by Russian President Vladimir Putin to the people of Crimea. The company is calling for criminal charges to be filed against any Russians who helped orchestrate the move. Siemens originally sold the turbines to a Russian firm called Technopromexport.

Source: Zero Hedge

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