Zelenskiy Says EU's Seventh Sanctions Package Against Russia Not Enough

Exports of Russian gold last year reportedly totaled more than $15 billion.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has dismissed the European Union's seventh round of sanctions against Russia as inadequate.

"This is not enough and I am telling my partners this frankly. Russia must feel a much higher price for the war to force it to seek peace," he said in his nightly video address on July 20.

EU ambassadors earlier adopted a new round of sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

The package includes a ban on Russian gold imports and a freeze of the assets of Sberbank, Russia's largest bank, held in the European Union.

The Czech Republic, which currently holds the EU's rotating six-month presidency, said the new sanctions will align the EU with its Group of Seven (G7) partners. The package also reinforces implementation and closes loopholes, the Czech EU presidency said on Twitter.

The leading economies in the G7 banned imports of Russian gold in June. Other industrialized countries have also banned imports of Russian gold, which wealthy Russians have been purchasing to ease the sting of international financial punishments.

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EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed the measures last week, saying they would help enforce earlier sanctions more effectively and extend them until January 2023.

"Moscow must continue to pay a high price for its aggression," she added.

The sanctions package, the seventh approved by the EU since Russia launched the invasion in February, also adds more individuals deemed responsible for the war to the list of those hit with travel bans and asset freezes, the Czech presidency said.

In addition, the measures also unblock assets at Russian banks linked to trade in food and fertilizer in an effort to respond to Moscow's allegations that sanctions against it are causing a food crisis.

This was a "commitment that sanctions won't endanger the food and energy security around the world," the Czech government said.

EU capitals are to sign off on the sanctions in what is considered a formality before the measures enter into legal force upon their publication in the EU's official journal, expected on July 21.

Six previous rounds of sanctions have targeted Russia's economy, financial system, central bank, top government officials, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle. The last round of sanctions was passed in June and imposed a ban on most Russian oil imports.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and dpa