Bloomberg learned about Berlin’s readiness to tighten sanctions against Sberbank

Germany has agreed to consider sanctions against Sberbank, Bloomberg reported. Earlier, the head of the German Wintershall said that he sees “the end of the era of intensive and long economic cooperation between Moscow and Berlin”

Germany is ready to consider sanctions against Russia's largest bank— Sberbank, Bloomberg reports, citing sources familiar with the matter. According to the agency, this measure may be included in the new, sixth, package of European sanctions against Russia.

Germany was one of the countries that was reluctant to impose sanctions restrictions on Russia, the agency points out, and opposed severe restrictions on Sberbank, including against its disconnection from SWIFT. The Baltic countries, as well as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zalensky, are calling for sanctions against more Russian banks, Bloomberg notes.

According to Bloomberg diplomatic sources and documents seen by the agency, Berlin was concerned that sanctions against Sberbank would prevent energy-related financial transactions. However, in recent weeks, Germany has found alternative energy suppliers and is now preparing to support a phased ban on Russian oil, the agency's interlocutors said.

The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said earlier that the EU could introduce new sanctions against Russian banks. “Especially [we study] Sberbank, which accounts for 37% of this sector,” — she said. Also, according to her, the European Commission is now “in the process of developing smart mechanisms” due to which the next package of sanctions will affect Russian oil.

Then Von der Leyen, who served as Minister of Defense of Germany, rejected suggestions that the German government is slowing down the imposition of sanctions against Russia, saying that Berlin approved all five previously proposed packages of sanctions within 48 hours.

April 28 Mario Meren— the head of the German Wintershall, which was the main partner of Gazprom; on Nord Stream 2, said that Berlin sees in Russia's actions in Ukraine a “turning point” that means “the end of an era of intense and long economic cooperation with Russia.” The company also wrote down £1.5 billion of related assets due to loss of revenue from the Nord Stream 2 project. and operations related to Russia.

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Sberbank was previously subject to blocking sanctions by the United States, and the bank’s work was also limited in the UK . Washington froze the bank's assets and banned Americans from doing business with Sberbank; London first closed Sberbank's correspondent accounts. in British banks and forbade him to conduct clearing operations in pounds sterling, and then also froze the assets of a financial institution. Since April 7, the bank has stopped all transfers abroad in foreign currency.

In early March, the European Union disconnected from SWIFT— systems for transferring financial messages between banks— Russian banks VTB, Rossiya, Otkritie, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank, Sovcombank and VEB.RF. Sberbank and Gazprombank have so far avoided shutdowns.

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