The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which began on February 24, 2022, shows no signs of a ceasefire. In response to this, leaders of the G7 nations are planning to discuss further sanctions against Russia during their summit in Japan from May 19 to 21.
According to a source familiar with the matter, the new sanctions will target evasion of sanctions involving third-party countries, Russia’s future energy production, and exports that support the Russian military.
In addition, US officials predict that G7 nations will agree to adjust their approach to sanctions so that exports are automatically banned unless the commodities are explicitly on an approved list.
The Biden administration had previously pushed G7 allies to reverse their current approach, which permits all goods to be sold to Russia unless explicitly blacklisted.
The changes are expected to make it more difficult for Moscow to find loopholes in the sanctions regime. Although allies have not yet agreed to apply a broader, more stringent approach, US officials predict that in areas most sensitive to the Russian military, G7 member countries will deem exports prohibited unless they are on a predetermined list.
It is still being discussed which sectors will be restricted under the new rules. “You’ll see a shift in that presumption happening in a number of areas, particularly related to Russia’s defense industrial base,” said a US official who declined to be named.
The exact language of the joint declaration by the G7 leaders still needs to be negotiated and adjusted before it is released at the summit. The G7 consists of the United States, Japan, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom.
Efforts to impose new sanctions on Russia by G7 leaders come as Western allies of Ukraine also seek new ways to tighten sanctions against Russia, ranging from export controls to visa restrictions and oil price caps. While this series of sanctions has put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin, it has not stopped the full-scale invasion that began more than a year ago.
Some US allies have rejected the idea of a broad trade ban followed by exceptions per category. For example, the European Union has its own approach and is currently negotiating its 11th package of sanctions since Russia invaded Ukraine. These sanctions mostly target individuals and countries that evade existing trade restrictions.