Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Tiago Antunes says it is
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Tiago Antunes says it is "very important" that the 11th package of European sanctions against Russia target "important partners of Russian oligarchs". Image: António Pedro Santos / Lusa

Portugal calls for “more effective sanctions against Russia”

…as Brussels considers action on Chinese companies close to Russian oligarchs

Portugal has today called for “more effective European sanctions on Russia” for the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Secretary of State for European Affairs Tiago Antunes made the call, on Europe Day, as Brussels is finalising a new package of measures designed to prevent the evasion of restrictions already in place.

This package is understood to involve the possible blacklisting of several Chinese companies believed to have been bypassing trade restrictions in place by supplying technology – including semiconductors – to the Russians “that could be used for military ends”.

This simmering situation may explain the hush surrounding the official visit to this country by Chinese vice president Han Zheng.

As Reuters explains, for the various Chinese companies to be blacklisted, all 27 member states “must agree” at a meeting scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday).

Yesterday, “Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China was urging the EU not to take the “wrong path”, and that it was prepared to take action to safeguard its rights and interests”, adds Reuters.

Today, Tiago Antunes has refused to be drawn on the Chinese angle, stressing simply that Portugal “awaits the Commission’s proposals”, but that it is “very important” that “all possible loopholes” are closed “and therefore (this) includes important partners of Russian oligarchs”.

He told Lusa: “Naturally those who are covered by these sanctions will try to find every possible way to get round them, and therefore the EU must regularly remain vigilant and maintain a very significant effort to close all possible loopholes through which, particularly oligarchs, can exploit the possibility of evading sanctions regimes in place”.

This will be Brussels’ 11th package of sanctions against Russia.

Antunes believes the 10 already in place “are quite robust and quite powerful and have in fact limited Russia’s ability to carry out and intensify its war effort”, which is the whole idea.

As Lusa explains: “The EU imposed sanctions on Russia in response to its war of aggression unleashed against Ukraine, which began on 24 February 2022, and the illegal annexation of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporijia and Kherson.

“The sanctions include targeted restrictive measures (individual sanctions), economic sanctions and visa measures and are in addition to the measures imposed on Russia since 2014 following the annexation of the Crimean peninsula and the non-implementation of the Minsk agreements (concerning the conflict in eastern Ukraine between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists).

“The aim of the economic sanctions is to provoke serious consequences for Russia for its actions and to effectively impede Moscow’s ability to continue the military offensive against Ukraine.

“The individual sanctions target persons responsible for supporting, financing or carrying out actions which undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, or who benefit from such actions.

“The Russian military offensive on Ukrainian territory has plunged Europe into what is considered the most serious security crisis since the Second World War (1939-1945)”.

As for the Chinese companies understood to be in line for possible blacklisting, the Financial Times has listed them as 3HC Semiconductors, King-Pai Technology, Sinno Electronics, Sigma Technology, Asia Pacific Links, Tordan Industry and Alpha Trading Investments.

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