The Netherlands has decided to withdraw sanctions against Russia without permission from the European Union (EU). The Dutch ministries of Foreign Affairs, Economic Affairs, Finance, Infrastructure and Education have the option of granting exemptions.
According to a report, the Dutch ministries have granted a total of 91 exemptions from sanctions against Russia.
However, the ministries did not reveal the names of the companies involved, the value of the transactions exempted and the business sectors concerned. A spokesperson confirmed that the said ministries are allowed to grant exemptions to sanctions to “allow a degree of flexibility in specific cases.”
As an example, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management gave exemptions so 34 ships could enter Dutch ports because they carried significant cargo like aluminum and food. The EU banned ships sailing under the Russian flag from European ports beginning April.
It was also reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had given exemptions to boost “diplomatic relations.”
Transactions have also been made available at Russian financial institutions on the sanctions list. These are banks with more than 50 percent of the shares owned by the Kremlin, such as Sberbank, VTB, VEB and Gazprombank.
The Ministry of Finance provided 13 additional exemptions connected to frozen assets or financing of goods that go through the sanctions system.
Climate and Energy, which is under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, gave 25 permits for Dutch organizations to still receive energy from former Gazprom companies. (Related: Hungary, Serbia building pipeline for Russian oil and gas to dodge EU sanctions.)
The exemptions support 150 companies and organizations, including municipalities, schools and water boards. The Gazprom companies are now called Securing Energy for Europe (SEFE) Group.
Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, which is under Foreign Affairs, granted 18 exemptions to 13 organizations on “humanitarian grounds” for cooperation between the EU and Russia on “purely civilian matters.”
Foreign Affairs also gave a waiver so a corporation could get another payment from Russia.
Dutch tech companies “unwittingly” selling technology to Russia
Meanwhile, Dutch tech companies are “unwittingly” selling their technology to corporations established by the Russian military intelligence agency. This was verified by a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense after statements made by Jan Swillens, head of the Military Intelligence and Security Service.
As reported by Swillens, the Russian secret service has found dozens of firms that operate in the Netherlands as “front companies” to avoid Western sanctions. These companies are purchasing technology that they will later smuggle to Russia for military purposes.
Swillens has called on Dutch high-tech companies to carry out more comprehensive research into their customers and to ask about the actual end users of their products.
Just recently, Dutch law enforcement imprisoned a 55-year-old man on suspicion of supplying microchips to Russia by bypassing sanctions.
The microchips in question can be utilized in the defense industry and because of international sanctions they must not be sold to Russian corporations. The man said he was selling the products to other nations. His bank accounts and trading inventory were confiscated.
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