The European Union’s ban on Russian coal will come into force today.
The embargo—agreed upon in April—comes into full effect as part of the EU’s fifth wave of Russian sanctions. The EU’s ban on Russian coal has zero exemptions and will immediately stop nearly 25% of all Russian coal exports.
Energy politics continue to dominate the EU-Russian standoff in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While the sanctions align with the EU’s dual goals of reducing green gas emissions and weaning itself off Russian energy, Russia has retaliated by decreasing its natural gas exports to the EU to 20% capacity, which threatens European energy supplies.
In the short-term, the end of nearly €8 billion in annual coal trade revenue for Russia could harm its economic flexibility as it attempts to hold and consolidate its gains across Ukraine. However, do not expect much to change. In preparation for the ban, Russia has begun to export coal in record numbers to other powers, such as China and Indonesia. Rather, in the medium term, expect the unity of the EU to be tested as a long winter of high energy prices, with gas rationing policies already exposing intra-EU cracks.
Scott is an Analyst at Foreign Brief and a Project Manager at Management Systems International (MSI) managing operations for overseas contracts in their Africa and Eastern Europe (EE) Division. Previously, he was a Program Associate at ABA ROLI supporting their East Africa program unit. His specific interests are geopolitics, regional conflict and governance, and political and economic developments in Sub-Saharan Africa.