Until last week, EU countries exported tens of millions of euros worth of weapons to Russia, despite a trade ban. The hole that made it possible is now closed, writes the Reuters news agency, authorized by EU diplomats.
Since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, it has been officially banned from exporting weapons to Russia. The ban took effect on August 1 of that year. However, a clause in the sanctions package at the time allowed this to continue in some cases. Contracts concluded before 1 August 2014 remained in force.
France and Germany are the main exporters
Last year, EU countries earned about 39m euros from the trade. In 2020, there were still 25 million euros. France was the largest exporter, followed by Germany and Italy. According to the French research platform Disclose, France sold torpedoes and bombs, among other things.
Since the invasion of Ukraine in late February, there have been criticisms from Poland, for example, of governments that have continued to export.
The EU has already imposed several packages of sanctions over the war, but the hole was closed only last week. Then, the fifth package of sanctions was agreed.
The clause has been deleted from 8 April in the Official Journal of the European Union, which contains all new European legislation. For example, the purchase of other military equipment or lending is prohibited, Politico reports.
The EU has not communicated this to the outside world. According to the diplomat involved, EU countries can still repair Russian-made weapons in Russia.