Further EU, UK and US sanctions relating to Russia and Belarus

Since our previous update on 4 March 2022, the EU, UK and US have announced additional sanctions against Russia and Belarus in response to Russia's military aggression against Ukraine.

We outline the main features of these developments below. We also provide an update on Russian countermeasures.

US SANCTIONS

On 4 March 2022 the US Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced further export control measures, including:

  • Imposing a policy of denial on items related to Russian deepwater oil and gas exploration and extraction industries (which have been subject to export controls since 2014), and applying similarly stringent restrictions on the export, reexport or transfer  to or within Russia of items needed for oil refining. The text of this rule is available here.
  • Adding 91 entities determined to be involved in or support the Russian security services, military and defence sectors, and military/defence research and development to the Entity List. The entities are listed here.

Press release is available here.

On 8 March 2022 President Biden issued an Executive Order (the "EO") mainly targeting the Russian energy sector and prohibiting: 

  • The importation into the US of crude oil; petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products of Russian origin.
  • New investments in the Russian energy sector by a US person, wherever located; and
  • Any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a US person, wherever located, of a transaction by a foreign person where the transaction by that foreign person would be prohibited by the EO, if performed by a US person or within the United States.

White House fact sheet is available here and background press call here.

In conjunction with the Executive Order, OFAC has also issued a General License which provide limited authorizations for activity that would otherwise be subject to sanctions pursuant to the EO.

UK SANCTIONS

On 8 March 2022, the UK Business Secretary confirmed that the UK will phase out imports of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022 (press release is available here).

On 9 March 2022, the UK Foreign Secretary announced a suite of new aviation and related trade sanctions (press release available here), which include:

  • New powers to detain Russian aircraft and remove aircraft belonging to designated individuals and entities from the UK register.
  • Ban on the export of aviation and space-related goods and technology, including technical assistance, to or for use in Russia.
  • Further ban on UK companies providing insurance and re-insurance services in relation to these goods and technologies.

Notably, Moreover, on 10 March 2022, the UK added seven Russian elites on its sanction list (full asset freeze and travel ban) (press release is available here). Notable individuals include Alexei Miller (linked to Gazprom) and Igor Sechin (linked to Rosneft).

EU SANCTIONS

On 9 March 2022, the EU announced sanctions related to Russia and Belarus (press releases are available here and here).

In respect of Russia, the following restrictions were imposed:

  • Further restrictive measures with regard to the export of maritime navigation goods and radio communication technology to Russia:
    • Prohibition on selling, supplying, transferring or exporting, directly or indirectly, certain (listed) maritime navigation goods and technology to any natural or legal person, entity or body in Russia, for use in Russia, or for the placing on board of a Russian-flagged vessel.
    • Prohibition on providing technical assistance, brokering services or other services related to such goods and technology and on the provision, manufacture, maintenance and use of those goods and technology.
    • Prohibition on related financing or financial assistance.
  • Targeted sanctions (asset freeze, travel ban and prohibition on making funds available) against 160 new individuals consisting of (i) 146 members of the Russian Federation Council, and (ii) 14 individuals described as oligarchs and prominent business people.

In total, the EU restrictive measures imposed now apply to a total of 862 individuals and 53 entities.

In respect to Belarus, the EU imposed additional sanctions on the Belarusian financial sector similar to sanctions previously imposed on Russia, namely:

  • Ban on SWIFT: Blocking the access to SWIFT for Belagroprombank, Bank Dabrabyt, and the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus, as well as their Belarusian subsidiaries. As noted in our previous update (available here), similar restrictions were imposed on certain Russian banks last week.
  • Prohibition on transacting with the Central Bank of Belarus related to the management of reserves or assets, and the provision of public financing for trade with and investment in Belarus.
  • Prohibition on listing and provision of services in relation to shares of Belarus state-owned entities on EU trading venues as of 12 April 2022.
  • Prohibition on the acceptance of deposits exceeding €100.000 from Belarusian nationals or residents, the holding of accounts of Belarusian clients by the EU central securities depositories, as well as the selling of euro-denominated securities to Belarusian clients.
  • Prohibition on provisions of euro denominated banknotes to Belarus.

RUSSIAN COUNTERMEASURES  

In the past week, Russia has announced and implemented several countermeasures against states that have recently imposed sanctions against Russia, as further discussed in our alert 9 March 2022 (available here).

Late this evening, the Russian government published three lists (in Russian) of products (and a few commodities) that will be subject to export restrictions until 31 December 2022. Two of the lists set out a number of products in a wide range of categories that will be subject to export restrictions. These restrictions will apply to all states, except members of the Eurasian Economic Union. More than 200 products are included in the lists, including technological, telecommunication and medical equipment, farming machines, planes, cars, railroad wagons and trains, containers, turbine blades, equipment for processing metals and rocks, equipment related to the gas and oil industry, electrical apparatuses, displays, projectors, benchboards and panels.

The third list sets out certain products and commodities that will be subject to an export prohibition. However, only timber, other unprocessed timber products and cladding sheets are included in the list. Moreover, the export prohibition will only apply to a defined category of states, corresponding with the list of so-called "unfriendly states, as further discussed in our alert of 9 March 2022.

While we cannot see that any other commodities are included in these lists as of yet, we note that the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation decided to implement a temporary prohibition on the export of white sugar and raw cane sugar, as well as limitations on the export of wheat, rye, barley and corn, until 31 August 2022 in a separate decision today (in Russian). 

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WR Sanctions Alerts provide you with updates on material developments in the country-specific sanctions programmes implemented by the US, the UN, the UK, the EU and Norway. We will not provide updates on mere prolongations, without material changes, of existing sanctions programmes, nor on any listings or de-listings of individuals/entities placed on implemented sanctions lists. Please note that the WR Sanctions Alerts are provided as general information and do not constitute legal advice.

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