Russian patriarch removed from latest EU sanctions list after Hungary’s objection

Bloc officially adopts 6th sanctions package against Russia after changes to meet Hungary’s demands.

Russian patriarch removed from latest EU sanctions list after Hungary’s objection

The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, was excluded from the latest EU sanctions list after Hungary’s objection.

The European Union on Friday officially adopted the sixth sanctions package against Russia.

The blacklist targeting individuals with a travel ban and asset freeze does not include Patriarch Kirill, contrary to the original proposal.

It was Hungary that requested the removal of Patriarch Kirill from the sanctions list, the country’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto announced.

In a Facebook post, Szijjarto explained: “It was a matter of principle for us because we insist on the freedom of religion just like we stick to our national interests.

“I don’t even want to think about the consequences of adding the leader of one of the biggest Christian churches to the sanctions list,” he added.

The draft package aimed to sanction Patriarch Kirill for amplifying Russian President Vladimir Putin’s messages during his sermons and other public remarks.

“Patriarch Kirill is therefore responsible for supporting or implementing actions or policies which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, as well as stability and security in Ukraine,” the rejected draft said.

Hungary has also achieved a main concession during the negotiations on the latest sanctions package by getting an exemption for pipeline oil under the bloc’s embargo.

According to Szijjarto, they managed to save the landlocked country’s petrol supply and “avoided an economic breakdown” by opposing the original draft.

After a month of stalled negotiations, the EU leaders reached a political agreement on the sixth set of restrictive measures at their summit on late Monday night.

The package includes a ban on Russian pipeline oil imports that is supposed to cut 92% of Russia’s oil trade into the bloc by the end of this year and excludes, among others, Russia’s biggest bank, Sberbank, from the SWIFT international payment system.

Members of the military administration, other personalities supporting the war, and leading business people and their family members, as well as Kremlin officials, are also added to the sanctions list, imposing a travel ban and asset freeze.

The new package complements the previous sanctions targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, among others, as well as banning the export of luxury goods and coal imports, and excluding Russian and Belarusian banks from using the SWIFT system.

The EU has allocated €2 billion ($2.15 billion) in military aid to Ukraine and mobilized more than €4 billion ($4.30 billion) in macro-financial assistance, humanitarian aid, and support to the EU countries hosting refugees from Ukraine since the war began on Feb. 24.

The bloc is also set to allocate another €9 billion ($9.66 billion) credit to Ukraine.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Haziran 2022, 22:12

Hüseyin Demir