EU Commission rejects plans to sanction Russia’s nuclear industry

22 February 2023

The European Commission (EC) has abandoned plans to sanction Russia's nuclear sector or its representatives in its next (10th) sanctions package, Politico reported citing “three diplomats”. The EC had initially said it would try to draw up sanctions targeting Russia's civil nuclear sector and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had urged the EU at least to issue sanctions against Rosatom.

New rules target specific sectors, such as aviation or military, while visa restrictions and asset freezes are imposed on individuals and companies. However, none include the nuclear sector, according to drafts seen by Politico and EU diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Hungary has long opposed targeting the nuclear sector, pointing to its dependence on Rosatom. To overcome a potential veto by Hungary, the EU had considered putting individual employees of Rosatom and other companies on the list but reportedly chose in the end not to do so. France has also urged caution, with officials pointing out that many nuclear power plants use Russian fuel.

According to Politico, some EU diplomats expressed disappointment at the decision. "It's sad. When it comes to the nuclear section... nobody told us that it’s not okay or it will be a problem," one is quoted as saying. "This is why we’re surprised."

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