EU Clarifies Crypto is Covered in Sanctions Against Russia, Belarus

  • March 9, 2022
  • Dimitar Dzhondzhorov
  • 2 min read

The European Union made it clear that cryptocurrencies, which fall into the category “transferable assets,” are included in the financial sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Additionally, the EU implemented similar penalties on Belarus for assisting the Russian war-like regime.

The Bloc Extends Its Sanctions

Similar to the USA, the European Union vowed not to deploy military troops to Ukraine and, as of the moment, stands away from a direct conflict with Russia. Nevertheless, the organization slammed the largest country by landmass with severe monetary sanctions aiming to lessen its power and cut its financial connection with the rest of the world.

Such penalties included freezing the assets of giant Russian banks and expelling certain institutions from the major payment system SWIFT.

According to a recent announcement, the EU expanded its measures against Russia by targeting 160 local oligarchs who might be part of Putin’s inner circle. Specifically, those individuals were banned from trading digital assets in the EU.

“The EU confirmed the common understanding that loans and credit can be provided by any means, including crypto assets, as well as further clarified the notion of ‘transferable securities,’ so as to clearly include crypto-assets, and thus ensure the proper implementation of the restrictions in place,” the organization added in its statement.

Not surprisingly, the EU extended its sanctions to Belarus, too. The Eastern European country has aided the Russian “special military operation,” and for that reason, many local banks were expelled from SWIFT. In addition, EU central securities depositories will no longer accept transfer deposits exceeding €100,000 made by Belarussian nationals.

Sberbank’s Departure From The European Market

As a result of the sanctions, Russia’s biggest bank – Sberbank – announced it will withdraw from the European market.

After implementing the measures, the institution, which had operations in Austria, Germany, Croatia, Hungary, and many others, faced large cash outflows. Sberbank even said that the safety of its employees was threatened, making it one of the reasons to shut its doors in those countries.

Interestingly, the entity is one of the few Russian banks with a pro-crypto stance. Not long ago, it created a blockchain exchange-traded fund (ETF) tracking prominent companies in the cryptocurrency industry, such as Coinbase and Galaxy Digital. This became the first such product in Russia, enabling traders to delve into the digital asset sector without purchasing, storing, or selling tokens.

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