Barely 24 hours after JP Morgan Chase’s $440 million embargo on Russia came to light, it has been leaked that the European Commission plans new sanctions on Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG). EPA-EFE/ALEXEY BABUSHKIN / SPUTNIK / KREMLIN POOL


EU and US eye new sanctions against Russia as Moscow moves to seize $440 million from JPMorgan


Barely 24 hours after a $440 million seizure order imposed by Russia on US financial giant JPMorgan Chase came to light, the European Commission is reported to be planning new sanctions on Russia’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.

Russia’s VTB Bank has filed the suit against JPMorgan Chase and its subsidiaries in St Petersburg court.

The papers said VTB had sought interim relief because the defendants were taking steps to withdraw their assets from Russia.

The lender, represented by the State, is seeking to recover these amounts.

The European Commission, meanwhile, is on the brink of unveiling a sanctions package targeting Russian LNG, marking a new escalation in the EU’s response. The forthcoming proposal includes measures to clamp down on the trans-shipment of Russian LNG within EU waters, alongside targeted sanctions aimed at three major Russian LNG projects: Arctic LNG 2, Ust Luga and Murmansk.

The focus is on stopping such trans-shipments and the process of transferring LNG between vessels within port areas to facilitate its onward journey to final destinations. Informal discussions with Member States are underway.

Following a decline in pipeline imports from Gazprom – Russia’s State-owned gas giant – the proportion of Russian gas in the EU import supply chain is at approximately 15 per cent of the total, according to EU data. This resurgence contrasts with the preceding plunge to just 8.7 per cent following the implementation of earlier sanctions.

Data shows that Member States independently continue to buy gas from Russian sources.

With the EC expected to finalise its proposals over the next few days, all eyes are on Brussels as the EU prepares to chart a course amid the escalating geopolitical landscape.

Elsewhere, US treasury secretary Janet Yellen voiced support for a US proposal to utilise interest from frozen Russian assets, estimated at $300 billion, to aid Ukraine. Yellen lauded the EU’s move to segregate proceeds from assets held by Belgium-based financial services firm Euroclear for transfer to Ukraine.

The proposal, gaining traction among G7 nations, is led by US deputy national security advisor Daleep Singh.

While Washington believes outright seizures of Russian assets is justifiable, alternative approaches are being explored in a bid to garner broader support.

Not everyone is comfortable with Washington’s determination, including groups such as BRICS – the intergovernmental organisation comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and the UAE – that are gaining more weight in the world economy.