EU sanctions on the Russian Federation and Belarus
*This list is regularly updated. Current as of 21 December 2022.
The below list shows an overview over the EU sanctions recently introduced as a reaction to the current situation in Ukraine. With respect to Russia, note that other sanctions measures which have been introduced in the past might be applicable in certain cases (e.g., measures pertaining to goods and services from and for Crimea and Sevastopol regions)
1. SANCTION MEASURES ON THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
a) GENERAL BAN ON TRANSACTIONS
It is prohibited to directly or indirectly engage in any transaction with any of the entities listed below if the entities are (i) publicly controlled by Russia, (ii) with over 50% public ownership, or (iii) in which Russia, its government or Central Bank has the right to participate in profits or (iv) has a substantial economic relationship (listed in Annex XIX of Regulation (EU) No 833/2014, as amended):
- OPK OBORONPROM
- UNITED AIRCRAFT CORPORATION
- GAZPROM NEFT
- ROSTEC (RUSSIAN TECHNOLOGIES STATE CORPORATION)
- JSC PO SEVMASH
- UNITED SHIPBUILDING CORPORATION
- RUSSIAN MARITIME REGISTER OF SHIPPING (RMRS)
Furthermore, this prohibition also applies to entities established outside the EU in which the entities listed above directly or indirectly own more than 50% of the shares, or which act on behalf of or at the direction of an entity listed above, or are directly or indirectly owned by them (with over 50% ownership).
Note that a certain exception might apply depending on the nature and the date of the underlying agreement with the mentioned entities (e.g., transaction strictly necessary for the import of oil and natural gas through Russia into the EU, EEA, Switzerland or the Western Balkans).
b) GOODS-RELATED SANCTIONS
Export ban: The export, sale and supply of various types of goods from the EU to Russia is prohibited (as well as related services, such as technical or financial assistance, insurance, etc.). That particularly relates to:
- military goods and related material (note also that the import of such goods from Russia to the EU is prohibited);
- dual-use goods and technologies within the meaning of the Dual-Use Regulation to Russian military end users;
- goods that will have a military end-use in Russia;
- goods and technologies for exploration and extraction of oil and gas (as listed in Annex II of Regulation (EU) No 833/2014, as amended);
- goods and technologies for use in oil refining (as listed in Annex X of Regulation (EU) No 833/2014, as amended);
- goods and technologies suited for use in aviation and the space industry with or without an origin in the EU (as listed in Annex XI Regulation (EU) No 833/2014, as amended);
- goods and technologies for maritime navigation (as listed in Annex XVI of Regulation (EU) No 833/2014, as amended); and
- luxury goods exceeding certain value thresholds (as listed in Annex XVIII of Regulation (EU) No 833/2014, as amended);
- goods that contribute to the enhancement of Russian industrial capacities, including chemicals, fabrics, ceramic products, wires, appliances, engine parts, machinery, electrical equipment, railway locomotives and other railway goods, trucks, etc. (see Annex XXII of Regulation (EU) No 833/2014, as amended).
Note that exemptions might apply depending on the nature and the date of the underlying sales agreements.
Import ban: The import and purchase of various types of goods from Russia to the EU is prohibited (as well as related services, such as technical or financial assistance, insurance, etc.). That particularly refers to:
- Crude oil or petroleum products as listed in Annex XXV of Regulation (EU) No 833/2014, as amended (including petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude); further prohibitions have been enacted regarding transport-related services for such goods;
- gold and related products (e.g., jewellery containing gold) as listed in Annex XXVI and XXVII of Regulation (EU) No 833/2014, as amended;
- coal and other solid fossil fuels (e.g., lignite, coke, etc.) as listed in Annex XXII of Regulation (EU) No 833/2014, as amended;
- certain iron and steel products are forbidden if the products originate in Russia or have been exported from Russia (as listed in Annex XVII of Regulation (EU) No 833/2014, as amended);
- other goods as listed in Annex XXI of Regulation (EU) No 833/2014, as amended (e.g., crustaceans, caviar, cement, certain chemicals, certain fertilisers, wood, glass fibres, ships, etc.).
Note that exemptions might apply depending on the nature and the date of the underlying sales agreements.
Road transport ban: Russian transport undertakings are prohibited for any road transport of goods within the EU, including transit. Exemptions apply for certain goods and transport routes, such as mail service and the transit through EU to Kaliningrad.
Export ban regarding Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia: The sale, supply, transfer or export of goods or technology listed in Annex II to Regulation (EU) 2022/263, as amended, as well as the direct or indirect provision of technical assistance or brokering services related to such goods and technology, to any natural or legal person, entity or body in the non-government-controlled areas of the Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions or for use in those areas is prohibited. The list refers to a number of goods and technology in the fields of transport, telecommunications, energy, prospecting, exploration and production of oil, gas and mineral resources.
Import ban regarding Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia: The import of goods originating in the non-government-controlled areas of the Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions into the EU as well as the direct or indirect provision of financing, financial assistance, insurance or reinsurance related to the import of such goods is prohibited. The ban does not apply to goods if provided to and which have been inspected by the Ukrainian authorities and for which a certificate of origin has been issued by the Ukrainian government.
c) RESTRICTION ON TRUSTEESHIPS
It is prohibited to register, provide a registered office, business or administrative address as well as management services to a trust or any similar legal arrangement which has as a trustor or a beneficiary:
- Russian citizens or residents;
- legal entities established in Russia;
- legal entities whose shares are directly or indirectly owned more than 50% by a Russian citizen, resident or legal entity;
- legal entities controlled by a Russian citizen, resident or legal entity;
- an individual or legal entity acting on behalf or at the direction of a Russian citizen, resident or legal entity.
Furthermore, as of 10 May 2022, it is prohibited to act as, or arrange for another person to act as, a trustee, nominee shareholder, director, secretary or a similar position, for a trust or similar legal arrangement as mentioned above.
An exemption might apply for cases of humanitarian aid (under official approval by the competent authority), for trustors or beneficiaries which are EU citizens or permanent residents as well as for the operations that are strictly necessary for the termination by 10 May 2022 of contracts which are not compliant with this provision and have been concluded before 9 April 2022 (including ancillary contracts necessary for the execution of such contracts).
d) SANCTIONS RELATED TO THE CAPITAL MARKET
“SWIFT exclusion” (prohibition of providing specialised messaging services for payment transactions): From 12 March 2022 on, it is prohibited to provide specialised messaging services for payment transactions used for the exchange of financial data to a list of Russian banks and their subsidiaries.
Granting of new loans and credits: New lending to certain legal entities listed is prohibited as of 26 February 2022. Exemptions might apply to loans or credits specifically and demonstrably intended to finance non-prohibited imports, exports or non-financial services.
Trading prohibition for Russian state-owned companies: It is prohibited to list and provide services for, and, as of 29 January 2023, to admit to trading on trading venues registered or recognised in the EU transferable securities of any entity established in Russia and with over 50% public ownership.
Exclusion from the capital market: In particular, the prohibition of the acquisition and trading in the securities of certain Russian banks and other companies (including SBER Bank, VTB Bank, VEB Bank, GAZPROM Bank, etc.) and their subsidiaries.
Deposits: Accepting deposits over EUR 100,000 from Russian legal entities, citizens or residents or legal entities established outside the Union and owned more than 50% by Russian citizens or residents is prohibited. Furthermore, the provision of crypto-asset wallets, accounts or custody services to Russian citizens or residents is prohibited if the total value of crypto-assets exceeds EUR10,000. Exemptions might apply to nationals of a Member State and to individuals who hold a temporary or permanent residence permit of a Member State.
Prohibition of the sale of Euro denominated securities: It is prohibited to sell Euro denominated transferable securities issued after 12 April 2022 or units in collective investment undertakings providing exposure to such securities to any Russian national or natural person residing in Russia or any entity established in Russia.
Trading and acquisition of government bonds and granting of new loans to the Russian state: It is prohibited to directly or indirectly purchase, sell, provide investment services for or assistance in the issuance of, or otherwise deal with transferable securities and money-market instruments issued after 9 March 2022 by, or to be part of any arrangement to make any new loans or credit to Russia and its government, the Central Bank of Russia or a legal person, entity or body acting on behalf or at the direction of the Central Bank of Russia. Exemptions to those prohibitions apply under certain conditions (e.g., providing financing for non-prohibited imports or exports).
Prohibition of cash transfers: It is prohibited to sell, supply, transfer or export euro-denominated banknotes to Russia or to any natural or legal person, entity or body in Russia, including the Government and the Central Bank of Russia, or for use in Russia. The respective EU regulation provides only for a limited amount of exceptions
Prohibition of new investments regarding Donetsk and Luhansk: It is prohibited to acquire real estate, shares or other securities of a participating nature, to grant a loan or provide financing to a legal entity, or to create any joint venture in the non-government-controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as well as provide investment services in that regard. The prohibition does not apply to the execution of a contractual obligation if deriving from a contract entered into prior to 23 February 2022, provided that the competent authority is notified at least five working days in advance.
Prohibition of participation in projects of the Russian Direct Investment Fund: It is prohibited to invest in projects co-financed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund or to participate in or otherwise contribute to them. The competent authorities may under certain conditions still approve such investments or contributions.
Transaction ban regarding the Russian Central Bank: Transactions related to the management of reserves and assets of the Russian Central Bank are prohibited. The competent authorities (in Austria for example, OeNB) may authorise a transaction if it is strictly necessary to safeguard the financial stability of Austria or the EU as a whole
e) PERSONAL SANCTIONS
The list of individuals and legal entities who/which are subject to personal sanctions under Regulation (EU) 269/2014 has been greatly expanded by a number of separate amendments and currently comprises 1412, individuals and 174 legal entities which are considered to have a specific role in connection with human rights violations. All economic resources belonging to listed persons shall be considered frozen and no funds or economic resources shall be made available to or for the benefit of them, whether directly or indirectly.
The competent authorities of the Member States may authorise the release of frozen funds under certain conditions (e.g., payments to non-listed creditors due under agreements which have been concluded before the debtor was included in the sanctions list).
f) CONSULTANCY SERVICES
It is prohibited to, directly or indirectly, provide legal advisory services. This does not include (as far as consistent with the sanctions objectives) legal services that are strictly necessary for the exercise of the right of defence in judicial proceedings and the right to an effective legal remedy as well as legal services strictly necessary to ensure access to judicial, administrative or arbitral proceedings, or for the recognition or enforcement of a judgment or an arbitration award rendered in a Member State.
Furthermore, it is prohibited to provide, directly or indirectly, accounting, auditing (including statutory audit), bookkeeping or tax consulting services, business and management consulting or public relations services, architectural and engineering services, IT consultancy services, market research and public opinion polling services, technical testing and analysis services, or advertising services to the Government of Russia or legal entities established in Russia.
Note that one of various exemptions might apply depending on the nature and the date of the underlying agreement (e.g., services provided to Russian entities owned by EU citizens).
g) OTHER SANCTIONS
Prohibition of investments in the energy and mining sector: It is prohibited to (a) acquire or extend participation in, (b) grant or be part of any arrangement to grant any new loan or credit or
otherwise provide financing, including equity capital, to, or (c) create any new joint venture with any legal entity incorporated or constituted under the law of Russia or any other third country and operating in the energy sector or in the mining and quarrying sector in Russia. Furthermore, it is prohibited to provide investment services directly related to such services. Exemptions might apply.
Air space closure: It is prohibited for any aircraft operated by Russian air carriers, registered in Russia or owned, chartered, or otherwise controlled by any Russian natural or legal person, entity or body, to land in, take off from or overfly the territory of the EU. Exemptions may apply in the case of an emergency landing or an emergency overflight. Furthermore, authorities may authorise an aircraft to land in, take off from, or overfly, the territory of the EU if required for humanitarian purposes or for any other purpose consistent with the objectives of the sanctions Regulation.
Port and lock closure: It is prohibited to provide access to ports, after 16 April 2022, and to locks, after 29 July 2022, in the EU to vessels registered under a Russian flag or which have changed their Russian flag to any other state after 24 February 2022. Exemptions might apply in certain cases, such as necessary imports into the EU and cases of maritime safety.
Prohibition of Russian State Media within the EU: It is prohibited to distribute selected Russian state media (especially Russia Today English/UK/Germany/France/Spanish or Sputnik) in the EU or to broadcast their content or to enable, facilitate or otherwise contribute to their broadcast, including by means of transmission or distribution via cable, satellite, IP-TV, internet service providers, internet video sharing platforms or applications, whether new or pre-installed. All broadcasting licences or permits, transmission and distribution agreements of the relevant Russian media shall be suspended.
Prohibition of infrastructure services regarding Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia: It is prohibited to provide technical assistance or brokering services, construction or engineering services for infrastructure in the non-government-controlled areas of the Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions.
Prohibition of services directly related to tourism activities in the non-government-controlled areas of the Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions.
2. SANCTION MEASURES CONCERNING BELARUS
On the basis of EU Regulation 765/2006, the EU issued a set of sanctions against Belarus. These include inter alia:
- asset freeze of selected persons and legal entities (especially persons related to the Belarusian military);
- air space closure;
- road transport ban;
- export ban concerning selected goods and technologies. This ban also includes providing maintenance and other assistance;
- import ban of selected petroleum products, rubber products, wood products, types of cement, iron and steel products which originate from Belarus;
- sanctions related to the capital market, such as:
- “SWIFT exclusion” for certain Belarussian financial institutes (prohibition of providing specialised messaging services for payment transactions);
- trading prohibition for Belarussian state-owned companies;
- prohibition of granting new loans for Belarussian government and state-owned companies;
- prohibition on insurance of Belarussian state-owned companies;
- prohibition of transactions with the Belarussian Central Bank;
- prohibition of bank account deposits for Belarussians over EUR 100,000.
3. VIOLATION OF SANCTION MEASURES
Violations of the above-mentioned sanction measures are subject to high fines and possibly also criminal liability (depending on the concerning EU Member State).
In Austria, violations are punishable with high administrative fines which are imposed on the responsible individuals (e.g., managing directors of a legal entity). Furthermore, certain (severe) violations can lead to criminal liability and may be punished with imprisonment of up to five years.