- June 7, 2022
- Posted by: Florence
- Categories: Russia, Sanctions
At a Glance…
In the wake of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the EU has adopted in rapid succession a series of sanctions against Russia and against Belarus for its support of Russia in the conflict. With each successive layer of sanctions, the EU is in the process of imposing an outright economic boycott against these two countries, one that continues to be tightened as the conflict intensifies. These sanctions are the most far reaching measures the EU has ever imposed and were imposed in coordination with the EU’s major allies.
The EU sanctions packages include sanctions against key sectors of the economy and targeted restrictive measures against prominent entities and business leaders, including Vladimir Putin himself. New sanctions also include some of the most restrictive seen to date against energy majors such as Rosneft and Gazprom Neft.
To help you keep track of these measures, your Reed Smith sanctions team has put together the detailed summary below.
Targeted restrictive measures: targeted restrictive measures have been gradually extended as the conflict has progressed, starting first with some high-profile individuals and members of the Russian State Duma, expanding to the president, Vladimir Putin, and prominent business leaders in Belarus, and culminating most recently with the designation of key oligarchs, such as Roman Abramovich.
23 February 2022
- 336 members of the Russian State Duma
- 22 high-profile individuals (e.g., government and senior military officials, individuals working for pro-Russian media, and business leaders/oligarchs)
- 4 entities. The first entities to have been made subject to an asset freeze are the Internet Research Agency and three Russian banks:
Regulation (EU) 2022/259 however provided for a wind-down period until 24 August 2022 for contracts involving the three designated banks concluded before 23 February 2022.
25 February 2022
- Members of the National Security Council, additional members of the Russian State Duma and persons who facilitated the Russian military aggression from Belarus. Vladimir Putin is made subject to an asset freeze.
28 February 2022
- Additional sanctions against 26 major business leaders and oligarchs, and one entity (the Gas Industry Insurance Company SOGAZ).
2 March 2022
- 22 Belarusian individuals added for their support of Russia in the invasion of Ukraine.
9 March 2022
- 146 members of the Russian Federation Council as well as 14 individuals supporting and benefitting from the Russian government or providing a substantial source of revenue to it, or associated with listed persons or entities.
15 March 2022
- 15 individual oligarchs, including Roman Abramovich and German Khan
- 9 entities active in the aviation, military and dual-use, shipbuilding and machine building sectors:
- Rosneft Aero (jet fuels)
- Rosoboronexpor (state intermediary for export-import of military and dual-use products)
- JSC NPO High Precision Systems (developer and manufacturer of weapons)
- JSC Kurganmashzavod (major military-industrial complex company)
- JSC Russian Helicopters (helicopter manufacturing company)
- PJSC United Aircraft Corporation (manufacturer of civil and military aircraft)
- JSC United Shipbuilding Corporation (shipbuilding conglomerate)
- JSC Research and Production Corporation Uralvagonzavod (machine building corporation)
- JSC Zlznodolsk Shipyard (shipbuilding enterprise)
What does this mean? These hundreds of individuals and handful of entities designated for their involvement in the invasion of Ukraine are now subject to an asset freeze in the EU, which means that all funds and economic resources belonging to, or owned, held or controlled by them are now frozen. The sanctions also cover any natural or legal persons, entities or bodies associated with them. In addition, it is prohibited to make funds or economic resources available, directly or indirectly, to them or for their benefit. Natural persons are also subject to a travel ban in the EU, which prevents them from entering or transiting through EU territories.
Visa policy: Diplomats, Russian officials and business people are no longer able to benefit from visa facilitation provisions.
Restriction on economic relations with the two breakaway regions imposed on 23 February 2022
With Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/266 and Council Regulation (EU) 2022/263 the EU imposed a full set of sanctions on the two non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, and in particular:
- Financial measures: it is prohibited to acquire or extend participation in real estate or entities in the two regions, including acquisition of shares and other securities of a participating nature in entities in the regions. The new sanctions also restrict the creation of joint ventures in these territories or with other entities in the regions, the provision of loans, credits or financing to entities in the regions, and the provision of investment services. The restrictions are without prejudice to the execution of obligations arising from contracts concluded before 23 February 2022, provided the competent authorities have been informed at least five working days in advance.
- Import ban: it is prohibited to import goods originating from these two regions, including a prohibition to provide, directly or indirectly, financing or financial assistance, as well as insurance or reinsurance related to these imports. There is a wind-down period until 24 May 2022 for contracts concluded before 23 February 2022.
- Tourism: the tourism sector is also impacted as it is prohibited to provide services directly related to tourism activities. There is a wind-down period until 24 August 2022 for contracts concluded before 23 February 2022.
- Export ban: it is prohibited to sell, supply, transfer, or export, or to provide technical assistance, brokering services, training, financing or financial assistance in relation to, the goods listed in Annex II to the Regulation, which are goods suited for the (i) transport, (ii) telecommunication, (iii) energy and (iv) prospecting, exploration and production of oil, gas and mineral resources sectors. It is also prohibited to provide technical assistance or brokering, construction or engineering services directly relating to infrastructure in these sectors, independently of the origin of the goods and technology. There is a wind-down period until 24 August 2022 for contracts concluded before 23 February 2022.
- Preferential customs origin: The EU also issued a notice to importers advising operators in the EU not to claim preferential treatment for the import into the Union of all goods produced in or exported from the non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, since the release of these goods for free circulation would give rise to a customs debt.
Sectoral restrictions against Russia: the EU has imposed several rounds of sectoral sanctions against Russia with a view to severely impact the Russian economy
- Technology sector. Export ban against dual-use goods and technology, whether or not originating in the Union, in the sense of Annex I to Regulation (EU) 2021/821 (the ‘Dual-use Regulation’). There is a wind-down period for contracts concluded before 26 February 2022, or ancillary contracts necessary for the execution of such contracts, provided that the authorisation is requested before 1 May 2022.
- Technology sector. Another export ban targets goods and technology which might contribute to Russia’s military and technological enhancement, or the development of the defence and security sector as listed in Annex VII to the Regulation. The same wind-down period as for the export ban on dual-use goods and technology applies.
Unless otherwise specified, the competent authorities may not grant an authorisation if they have reasonable ground to believe that the end-user might be a military end-user, a natural or legal person, entity or body listed in Annex IV to the Regulation or that the goods might have a military end-use; or when the transaction is intended for the aviation, space or energy sectors.
- Energy sector. An export ban on goods and technology suited for use in oil refining, as listed in Annex X to the Regulation. There is a wind-down period until 27 May 2022 for contracts concluded before 26 February 2022.
- Aviation sector. An export ban on goods and technology suited for use in the aviation or space industry, as listed in Annex XI to the Regulation, and a prohibition on providing insurance and reinsurance in relation to these items. There is a wind-down period until 28 March 2022 for contracts concluded before 26 February 2022.
- Maritime sector. Export ban on maritime navigation goods and technology, as listed in Annex XVI to the Regulation, which also includes radio communication technology.
- Energy sector. With its latest round of sanctions, the EU expanded its already existing sanctions against certain equipment, technology and services related to oil exploration and production in deep waters or in the offshore area north of the Arctic Circle or by hydraulic fracturing, by imposing a complete export ban (these items, listed in Annex II to the Regulation, were subject to prior authorisations). There is a wind-down period until 17 September 2022 for obligations arising from contracts concluded before 16 March 2022, or ancillary contracts necessary for the execution of such contracts, provided that the competent authority has been informed at least five working days in advance.
However, the sanctions do not apply to the sale, supply, transfer or export of goods or technology, or the provision of technical or financial assistance necessary for the transport of fossil fuels (e.g., coal and natural gas) from or through Russia into the Union, or for the urgent prevention or mitigation of an event likely to have serious and significant impact on human health and safety or the environment.
In addition to the export ban, the EU also prohibits new investments in the Russian energy sector, including acquiring new or extending existing participations, granting or being part of any arrangement to grant any new loan or credit, providing financing to any entity operating in the energy sector, or creating joint ventures with legal persons, entities or bodies incorporated or constituted under the law of Russia or any third country and operating in the energy sector in Russia.
- Luxury goods sector. Items such as caviar, truffles, champagne, cigars and perfumes, but also less luxurious items such as railways or tramway parts, or motor vehicle parts and accessories, are now subject to an export ban. The list of items concerned can be found in Annex XVIII to the Regulation, and are prohibited insofar as their value exceeds €300 per item.
- Iron and steel. Among the newest measures, the EU imposed an import ban on iron and steel products, as listed in Annex XVII to the Regulation. It is now prohibited to import, purchase or transport, directly or indirectly, iron and steel products originating in Russia, located in Russia or being exported from Russia.
- Aviation sector: the EU imposed an overflight ban on the EU airspace and on access to EU airports by Russian carriers of any kind. Concretely, Russian carriers are prohibited to land in, take off from or overfly the territory of the Union, except in the case of an emergency landing or emergency overflight. An exemption can also be granted for humanitarian purposes.
- Suspension, where carried out in the EU or directed at the EU, of the broadcasting activities of Sputnik and RT/Russia Today (RT – Russia Today English; RT – Russia Today UK; RT – Russia Today Germany; RT – Russia Today France; and RT – Russia Today Spanish).
- Access to capital markets. At the outset of the conflict, the EU first expanded its existing sectoral financial restrictions by further restricting access to capital markets to:
- Major credit institutions or other major institutions having an explicit mandate to promote the competitiveness of the Russian economy as listed in Annex III to the Regulation (e.g., Rostec).
- Any major credit institution or any other credit institution having a significant role in supporting the activities of Russia, its government or the Central Bank of Russia, as listed in Annex XII to the Regulation (e.g., Alfa Bank, Bank Otkritie, Bank Rossiya and Promsvyazbank).
- Legal persons, entities or bodies engaged in the conception, production, sale or export of military equipment or services, as listed in Annex V to the Regulation, or at least 50 per cent of whose revenues originate from the sale or transportation of crude oil or petroleum products, as listed in Annex VI to the Regulation (e.g., Rosneft and Transneft).
- Legal persons, entities or bodies that are publicly controlled or have over 50 per cent public ownership and in which Russia, its government or the Central Bank has the right to participate in profits or has a substantial economic relationship, as listed in Annex XIII to the Regulation (e.g., Russian Railways and Sovcomflot).
The prohibitions also apply to legal persons, entities or bodies that are 50 per cent or more owned by these entities, or that are acting on their behalf or at their direction. These restrictions apply to transferable securities and money-market instruments issued after 12 April 2022.
It is also prohibited, as of 12 April 2022, to list and provide services on trading venues registered or recognised in the Union for the transferable securities of any legal person, entity or body established in Russia and with over 50% ownership, and to make available, or be part of any arrangement to make available, new loans or credit.
The definition of ‘transferable securities’ has also been amended to include crypto-assets to ensure the proper implementation of the sectoral restrictions in place (Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/395 and Council Regulation (EU) 2022/394).
- Financial inflows. The EU limits financial inflows from Russia to the EU by:
- Prohibiting the acceptance of deposits from Russian nationals, natural persons residing in Russia, or legal persons, entities or bodies established in Russia, if the total value of deposits per credit institution exceeds €100,000. However, this prohibition does not apply to nationals of a Member State or natural persons having a temporary residence permit in a Member State. It also does not apply to deposits which are necessary for non-prohibited cross-border trade in goods and services between the Union and Russia.
- Prohibiting EU central securities depositories from providing any services relating to transferable securities issued after 12 April 2022.
- Prohibiting the selling of euro-denominated transferable securities issued after 12 April 2022 or units in collective investment undertakings providing exposure to such securities.
- Prohibiting the provision of public financing or financial assistance for trade with, or investment in, Russia.
- Central Bank of Russia. Access to capital markets was also restricted on 23 February 2022 for the Russian Federation, its government, the Central Bank of Russia and any entity acting on behalf of or at the direction of the Central Bank of Russia (Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/264 and Council Regulation (EU) 2022/262). Five days later, on 28 February 2022, the EU prohibited transactions related to the management of the reserves and assets of the Central Bank of Russia, including transactions with any legal persons, entities or bodies acting on its behalf or at its direction. However, the later prohibition does not apply to transactions strictly necessary to ensure the financial stability of the Union as a whole or of the Member State concerned.
- SWIFT ban. Prohibition (since 12 March 2022) to provide specialised financial messaging services to exchange financial data (SWIFT) to the following seven banks, listed in Annex XIV to the Regulation, or to any legal person, entity or body 50 per cent or more owned by them:
- Bank Otkritie
- Rossiya Bank
- VNESHECONOMBANK (VEB)
- VTB BANK
The SWIFT ban was imposed on banks that had already been the subject to an asset freeze since 23 February 2022.
- Russian Direct Investment Fund. Prohibition to invest or participate in, or otherwise contribute to, projects co-financed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund. There is a wind-down period for investment, participation or contribution due under contracts concluded before 2 March 2022 or ancillary contracts necessary for the execution of such contracts.
- Euro banknotes. Prohibition to sell, supply, transfer or export euro-denominated banknotes to Russia, including the government and the Central Bank of Russia, or for use in Russia.
- Full economic embargo on certain state-owned enterprises. With the fourth package of sanctions, it is now prohibited to directly or indirectly engage in any transaction with a legal person, entity or body which is publicly controlled or with over 50 per cent public ownership or in which Russia, its government or the Central Bank has the right to participate in profits or a significant economic relationship, as listed in Annex XIX to the Regulation. This also applies to legal persons, entities or bodies established outside the Union that are 50 per cent or more owned by, or acting on behalf or at the direction of, any entity listed in Annex XIX.
There is a wind-down period until 15 May 2022 for contracts concluded before 16 March 2022 or ancillary contracts necessary for the execution of such contracts. The prohibition does not apply to transactions necessary for the purchase, import or transport of fossil fuels, in particular coal, oil and natural gas, titanium, aluminium, copper, nickel, palladium and iron ore from or through Russia into the EU.
Entities targeted by this complete ban include Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, and Rostec.
- Credit rating services. As of 15 April 2022 it is prohibited to provide credit rating services, or access to any subscription services in relation to credit rating activities, to any Russian national or natural person residing in Russia or any legal person, entity or body established in Russia.
In addition the above, the EU has added a general prohibition on participating, knowingly or intentionally, in activities the object or effect of which is to circumvent prohibitions imposed by the EU, and a prohibition on providing technical assistance, brokering services, financing or financial assistance.
In parallel to these packages, the EU has also adopted two assistance measures under the European Peace Facility (EPF) for the provision of equipment and supplies to the Ukrainian armed forces.
If you have questions or would like additional information on the material covered in this mailing, please contact one of the authors – listed above– or the Reed Smith lawyer with whom you regularly work. This communication was initially made available from Reed Smith’s website: here.