EU moves to block the provision of 'high-value' crypto services to Russia

The Council of the European Union has agreed on Friday to bar Russians from being able to access “high-value” crypto services as part of the latest round of sanctions imposed on the country due to its invasion of Ukraine.

The crypto prohibition is one of three financial measures listed in the six-part sanctions package. Other items listed include a full asset freeze on four Russian banks that account for over a fifth of the country’s banking sector and an embargo on advisory services for wealthy Russians.

According to the sanctions package published by the European Commission, the crypto ban will serve to close potential loopholes. This refers to fears that wealthy Russians could use cryptocurrencies to evade financial sanctions imposed on Russia.

Wealthy Russians reportedly own over $130 billion worth of crypto, according to Mikhail Mishustin, the country’s prime minister. Mishustin made the claim Thursday while presenting a yearly report by the government.

Other prohibitions covered in the sanctions package include import bans on all Russian coal, but not oil and gas. The sanctions also target goods like cement, rubber, and vodka, among others.

The fifth round of sanctions also bars Russian nationals from procurement contracts in the EU.