One year on from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the UK and EU have announced additional sanctions measures against Russia, as summarised in this update. Additional US sanctions have also been announced (as summarised here), and the G7 issued a press release to reaffirm their commitment to strengthening the coordinated sanctions imposed against Russia to date.
In an announcement on 24 February, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly confirmed that 92 additional individuals and entities have been placed on the UK's Russia asset freeze list. The new designated persons include senior executives from Rosatom, Gazprom, Aeroflot and Russian defence companies, four Russian banks, entities involved in the manufacture or repair of military equipment for Russia's armed forces, certain individuals connected to President Putin, and senior Iranian executives in Qods Aviation Industry – a company manufacturing drones that are currently being used in Ukraine.
HM Treasury have also published a Notice in respect of these new designations.
New trade sanctions
The above announcement also confirmed that the UK will introduce additional trade sanctions including (i) export bans in respect of "every item Russia has been found using on the battlefield to date"; (ii) the import of 140 goods, including iron and steel products processed in third countries; and (iii) an extension of the existing measures against Crimea and the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk to the non-government controlled areas of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
At the time of writing, the legislation implementing these new restrictions had not yet been published. We will issue a further update once more detail is available.
Oil price cap
On 27 February, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation ("OFSI") added additional reporting forms in respect of the oil price cap (available here). OFSI also announced that they will be conducting a series of "teach-ins" regarding the oil price cap, tailored to the oil, shipping, insurance and financial services sectors. Any readers interested in attending should contact oilpricecap.OFSI@hmtreasury.gov.uk for further details.
As mentioned in our previous post, the EU has also previously announced its intention to introduce a further package of sanctions to coincide with the anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. That new package was agreed on 25 February, and the key elements are summarised below.
As set out in more detail in the Council's press release, the EU has added 87 individuals and 34 entities to its asset freeze list. These new designated persons include:
- key decision makers such as members of Russia's Federation Council, deputy ministers and other Russian officials;
- military leaders and companies manufacturing items used by the Russian Armed Forces;
- individuals identified as being responsible for the deportation and forced adoption of Ukrainian children;
- individuals and companies operating in the Russian media sector;
- four Iranian individuals involved in the elaboration and supply of drones used by Russia against Ukraine; and
- additional Russian banks, together with the Russian National Wealth Fund and the Russian National Reinsurance Company.
The full list of new designations is contained in Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2023/429 of 25 February 2023, which amends Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 (the "Asset Freeze Regulation").
The Asset Freeze Regulation has also been amended (by Council Regulation (EU) 2023/426) which introduces additional licensing grounds in respect of certain newly designated persons. Article 8 of the Asset Freeze Regulation (which contains certain reporting requirements in respect of the asset freeze) has also been amended. Those amendments have been introduced for enforcement and anti-circumvention purposes and include:
- a requirement to provide information not just on frozen funds held by EU persons, but also information on funds held by designated persons which have been subject to "any move, transfer, alternation, use of, access to, or dealing" in the two weeks preceding the listing of the relevant designated person;
- further detail on the type of information to be provided to Member State competent authorities in relation to frozen funds; and
- a requirement for Member States to share such information with the European Commission.
In a separate press release, the Council also confirmed that it was imposing an asset freeze on 11 individuals and seven entities linked to the Wagner Group. Those listings have been made under the EU's Mali, Ukraine and global human rights sanctions regimes.
Additional trade sanctions
In common with the UK, the EU has announced additional export restrictions on certain dual-use and military items. These new restrictions are implemented by Council Regulation (EU) 2023/427 (the "Amending Regulation"), which amends Regulation (EU) No 833/2014 (the "Russia Regulation"). A range of additional items have been added to Annex VII of the Russia Regulation which contains a list of items which might contribute to Russia's military and technological enhancement or the development of its defence and security sector and which are therefore subject to export restrictions. The Commission's press release notes that this includes electronic components used in Russian weapons systems as well as bans on specific rare earth materials and thermal cameras with military applications.
Additional entities have also been added to Annex IV of the Russia Regulation; the Russia Regulation provides that licences for the supply to Russia of dual-use or military goods or related services may not be granted where the end user of the goods/services is listed in Annex IV.
The Amending Regulation also introduces a new prohibition on the transit via Russia of restricted dual-use goods and technology and firearms exported from the EU.
The Amending Regulation also contains a number of other minor amendments, including:
- the addition of further items to the Annex XI list of restricted aviation goods and technology (see Article 3c of the Russia Regulation);
- additions to Annex XXI of the Russia Regulation (goods which generate significant revenue for Russia, the import of which is restricted under Article 3i);
- amendments to Annex XXIII of the Russia Regulations (goods which contribute to the enhancement of Russian industrial capacities, the export of which is restricted under Article 3k). These include goods that can be easily redirected to be used to support the Russian war effort, including items such as generators, binoculars and fork-lift trucks.
The changes made by the Amending Regulation came into force on 26 February 2023.
The other principal changes made by the Amending Regulation are summarised below.
- The Amending Regulation introduces a new requirement to provide to Member State competent authorities and the Commission information on any assets and reserves of the Central Bank of Russia or entities acting on its behalf or at its direction, as set out in new Article 4a of the Russia Regulation.
- The wind-down period for joint ventures with Russian entities subject to the "transaction ban" in Article 5aa of the Russia Regulation has been extended to 31 December 2023, as has the licensing ground permitting the divestment of those entities from their investments in EU entities.
- New Article 5o of the Russia Regulation prohibits (from 27 March) Russian nationals or residents from holding any post in the governing bodies of the owners or operators of critical infrastructures and certain other entities.
- The Amending Regulation prohibits the provision of EU gas storage capacity to Russian nationals, residents or companies (or entities owned by such a person or acting on behalf of or at the direction of such a person). This does not include LNG storage and is also subject to an exemption in relation to the termination of prior contracts (by 27 March) and a licensing ground in respect of ensuring critical energy supply within the EU.
- Two additional Russian entities have been added to the Russia Regulation's Annex XV and therefore fall within the broadcasting restrictions imposed by Article 2f.
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