The European Union (EU) doubled down on previous sanctions against Russia that limited bitcoin and cryptocurrency transactions, resulting in a total ban on all transactions, according to a statement from the European Commission.
“The Commission welcomes the adoption by the Council of an eighth package of tough sanctions against Russia for its aggression against Ukraine,” the statement said.
All bitcoin and cryptocurrency wallets, accounts and custody services in Russia are prohibited. Previously, transactions were limited to €10,000 ($9,900).
The ban comes after recent news from Russia, where its finance ministry announced the country’s intentions to allow any industry to accept bitcoin and cryptocurrency for international trade. Last month, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev stated that “there is no way to do without cross-border cryptocurrency settlements.”
Russia’s need to transact in bitcoins and cryptocurrencies has emerged from an ongoing dialogue between Russia’s central bank and its finance ministry, as the two regulators determine how best to introduce this capability to the economy.
But while the two regulators debate how to go about the task, the EU has taken a step toward banning all cryptocurrency transactions and services with its most recent ban.
The new sanctions go beyond cryptocurrency to also include restrictions on individuals and entities in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. Each sanctioned person is believed to be involved in the “Russian occupation, illegal annexation and simulated ‘referendums'” in the aforementioned territories.
In addition, export sanctions targeting Russian military, industrial and technological access, as well as its defense sector, were introduced. The EU also imposed a €7 billion import restriction and oil price caps.