Tag Archives: sanctions

EU renews Russia sanctions

Brussels 27.07.2022 EU renews economic sanctions over Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine for further six months. On July 26 the Council today decided to prolong by six months, until 31 January 2023, the restrictive measures targeting specific sectors of the economy of the Russian Federation.

These sanctions, first introduced in 2014 in response to Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine, were significantly expanded since February 2022, in light of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine. They currently consist of a broad spectrum of sectoral measures, including restrictions on finance, energy, technology and dual-use goods, industry, transport and luxury goods.

In addition to the economic sanctions on the Russian Federation, the EU has in place different types of measures in response to Russia’s destabilising actions against Ukraine. These include: restrictions on economic relations with the illegally annexed Crimea and the city of Sevastopol as well as the non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts; individual restrictive measures (asset freezes and travel restrictions) on a broad range of individuals and entities, and diplomatic measures.

Since 24 February, the EU has adopted a number of unprecedented and hard-hitting packages of sanctions in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The EU condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which blatantly violates Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It urges Russia to immediately stop its indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, and to immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its troops and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.

The European Union is unwavering in its commitment to help Ukraine exercise its inherent right of self-defence against the Russian aggression and build a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future. It also remains committed to continue bolstering Ukraine’s ability to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Crimea: EU renews sanctions

Brussels 20.06.2021 The Council has today decided to renew the sanctions introduced by the EU in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, until 23 June 2023.

“The restrictive measures currently in place were first introduced in June 2014, and include prohibitions targeting the imports of products originating from theillegally annexed Crimea or Sevastopol into the EU, and infrastructural or financial investments and tourism services from the illegally annexed Crimea or Sevastopol. Furthermore, the exports of certain goods and technologies to Crimean companies or for use in illegally annexed Crimea in the transport, telecommunications and energy sectors or for the prospection, exploration and production of oil, gas and mineral resources are also subject to EU restrictions.

“As stated by Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, in his Declaration on behalf of the EU on 25 February 2022, eight years since the violent, illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, the EU does not recognise and continues to condemn the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula as a serious violation of international law. The EU remains steadfast in its commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and dedicated to fully implementing its non-recognition policy.

“Russia has further violated Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity with its unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine which theEU continues to condemn in the strongest possible terms. It urges Russia to immediately stop its indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, and to immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its troops and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.

“The European Union is unwavering in its commitment to help Ukraine exercise its inherent right of self-defence against the Russian aggression and build a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future. It also remains committed to continue bolstering Ukraine ability to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty.

EU-Russia: more individual sanctions

Brussels 03.06.2021 Russia’s aggression against Ukraine: the EU targets additional 65 individuals and 18 entities (Image: illustration)
The Council decided today to impose restrictive measures on an additional 65 individuals and 18 entities in response to Russia’s ongoing unjustified and unprovoked military aggression against Ukraine and other actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. This decision is an integral element of the comprehensive sixth package of sanctions adopted by the Council earlier today.

“There can be no impunity for war crimes. We are adding today to our sanctions lists those who are responsible for enabling this unjustified war and the war crimes committed in Bucha and Mariupol, adding more people from the military and economic elites and those with close ties with President Putin supporting his illegitimate aggression against the Ukrainian people” Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said.

“The 65 listed individuals include the military staff that led the actions of those units of the Russian army that killed, raped, and tortured civilians in Ukraine in Bucha, including Colonel Azatbek Omurbekov, who was nicknamed the ’Butcher of Bucha’.. The list also includes those responsible for the inhuman siege of the city of Mariupol, including Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, nicknamed the ‘Butcher of Mariupol’, and those who participated in the creation of the so-called Committee of Salvation for Peace and Order in March 2022 – an organ for collaboration with the Russian occupation in Kherson Oblast. Lastly, the EU is imposing sanctions on politicians, propagandists, leading businesspersons and family members of already sanctioned individuals. The former gymnast and State Duma member Alina Kabaeva is also included in the list as a close associate of President Vladimir Putin” the EU top diplomat added.

The 18 sanctioned entities include a variety of companies supporting, directly or indirectly, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Russian Federation, including Russia’s largest securities depository, the National Settlement Depository.

Altogether, EU restrictive measures now apply to a total of 1,158 individuals and 98 entities. Those designated are subject to an asset freeze, and EU citizens and companies are forbidden from making funds available to them. Natural persons are additionally subject to a travel ban, which prevents them from entering or transiting through EU territories.

The EU resolutely condemns Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. It urges Russia to immediately stop its indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, and to immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its troops and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders. The atrocities being committed by Russian forces and the suffering and destruction being inflicted are unspeakable. The EU calls on Russia to allow immediate humanitarian access and the safe passage of all civilians concerned. It also calls on Russia to immediately allow the safe return of Ukrainian individuals forcibly removed to Russia.

The European Union is unwavering in its commitment to help Ukraine exercise its inherent right of self-defence against the Russian aggression and build a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future.

The relevant legal acts, including the names of the listed individuals and entities, have been published in the Official Journal of the EU.

EU-Russia: six package of sanctions

Brussels 31.05.2021 “The European Council is committed to intensify pressure on Russia and Belarus to thwart Russia’s war against Ukraine. The European Council calls on all countries to align with EU sanctions. Any attempts to circumvent sanctions or to aid Russia by other means must be stopped.

“The European Council agrees that the sixth package of sanctions against Russia will cover crude oil, as well as petroleum products, delivered from Russia into Member States, with a temporary exception for crude oil delivered by pipeline.

“The European Council therefore urges the Council to finalise and adopt it without delay, ensuring a well-functioning EU Single Market, fair competition, solidarity among Member States and a level playing field also with regard to the phasing out of our dependency on Russian fossil fuels. In case of sudden interruptions of supply, emergency measures will be introduced to ensure security of supply. In this respect, the Commission will monitor and report regularly to the Council on the implementation of these measures to ensure a level playing field in the EU Single Market and security of supply.

“The European Council will revert to the issue of the temporary exception for crude oil delivered by pipeline as soon as possible.

EU-US:enhancing transatlantic security & defence

Brussels 24.03.2022 Today, the European Council was joined by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. of the United States have issued the joint readout:

“The leaders discussed the coordinated and united response of the European Union and the United States to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression in Ukraine.

“They reviewed their ongoing efforts to impose economic costs on Russia and Belarus, as well as their readiness to adopt additional measures and to stop any attempts to circumvent sanctions.

“Leaders discussed the urgent needs caused by Russia’s aggression, committed to continuing providing humanitarian assistance, including to neighbouring countries hosting refugees, and underscored the need for Russia to guarantee humanitarian access to those affected by or fleeing the violence.

“Leaders welcomed the opening of international investigations, including by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and ongoing efforts to gather evidence of atrocities.

“In addition, leaders discussed EU-U.S. cooperation to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels, accelerate the transition to clean energy, as well as the need to respond to evolving food security needs worldwide.

“The leaders also concurred on the importance of strengthening democratic resilience in Ukraine, Moldova, and the wider Eastern partnership region.

“Finally, leaders underscored the importance of enhancing transatlantic security and defence, including through robust NATO-EU cooperation as described in the EU’s Strategic Compass”.

NATO-Russia: Biden announces new sanctions

Brussels 24.03.2022 President Biden has given a press-conference after NATO and G7 Summits in Brussels touting unity in the Western response to Russia as allies worked behind the scenes to formulate their plans for the next phase of the conflict in Ukraine.

Biden said he supported ejecting Russia from G20, which is scheduled to convene in November, though other members of that grouping would have to sign on, admitting that at the moment there are some state opposing this perspective.

Biden maintained his view that direct U.S. military intervention in Ukraine would result in catastrophe and defended a sanctions regime which, according to him should bring results, if used on a wholesome and permanent basis as long as needed.
“Putin was banking on NATO being split,” Biden said in a news conference at NATO headquarters late afternoon.
“NATO has never, never been more united than it is today. Putin is getting exactly the opposite of what he intended to have as a consequence of going into Ukraine.”

During the critical day of meetings, Biden announced new measures directed at members of Russia’s Parliament – Duma – and unveiled a plan to accept as many as 100,000 refugees fleeing the violence in Ukraine, steps intended to show American resolve in confronting the crisis.

A discussion of NATO’s force posture along its eastern border was also part of the last-minute diplomatic effort. And leaders conferred on what to do if Russia deploys a chemical, biological or even nuclear weapon,the answer should be united, and decided on a consensus basis.

“The nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use,” Biden said, answering a question.

As the Summit got underway Thursday morning, leaders heard a call for more help from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who addressed the gathering online. He stopped short of issuing his usual request for a no-fly zone, however he insisted Ukraine needs fighter jets, tanks and air-defence systems.

Ukraine: G7 statement

11.03.2022 “We the Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) remain resolved to stand with the Ukrainian people and government who heroically resist Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military aggression and war of choice against their sovereign nation. This unprovoked and unjustified attack is causing enormous suffering and a tragic loss of life, including through the increasingly indiscriminate bombing and shelling of civilians in schools, homes, and hospitals” reads the G7 Leaders’ Statement, 11 March 2022.(Image above: Kiev, Ukraine).

“We are united in our determination to hold President Putin and his regime accountable for this unjustified and unprovoked war that has already isolated Russia in the world. The world should join together in calling on President Putin and his regime to immediately stop its ongoing assault against Ukraine and withdraw its military forces. We stand in solidarity with those who are bravely opposing the invasion of Ukraine.

“We urge Russia to ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access to victims of its assault in Ukraine, and to allow safe passage for civilians wishing to leave. We call for, and commit to provide, humanitarian, medical and financial support to refugees from Ukraine.

“Since President Putin launched the Russian Federation’s invasion on February 24, our countries have imposed expansive restrictive measures that have severely compromised Russia’s economy and financial system, as evidenced by the massive market reactions. We have collectively isolated key Russian banks from the global financial system; blunted the Central Bank of Russia´s ability to utilise its foreign reserves; imposed sweeping export bans and controls that cut Russia off from our advanced technologies; and targeted the architects of this war, that is Russian President Vladimir Putin and his accomplices, as well as the Lukashenko regime in Belarus.

“In addition to announced plans, we will make further efforts to reduce our reliance on Russian energy, while ensuring that we do so in an orderly fashion and in ways that provide time for the world to secure alternative and sustainable supplies. In addition, private sector companies are leaving Russia with unprecedented speed and solidarity. We stand with our companies that are seeking an orderly withdrawal from the Russian market.

“We remain resolved to isolate Russia further from our economies and the international financial system. Consequently, we commit to taking further measures as soon as possible in the context of our ongoing response and consistent with our respective legal authorities and processes:

“First, we will endeavor, consistent with our national processes, to take action that will deny Russia Most-Favoured-Nation status relating to key products. This will revoke important benefits of Russia’s membership of the World Trade Organization and ensure that the products of Russian companies no longer receive Most-Favoured-Nation treatment in our economies. We welcome the ongoing preparation of a statement by a broad coalition of WTO members, including the G7, announcing their revocation of Russia’s Most-Favoured-Nation status.

Second, we are working collectively to prevent Russia from obtaining financing from the leading multilateral financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Russia cannot grossly violate international law and expect to benefit from being part of the international economic order. We welcome the IMF and World Bank Group’s rapid and ongoing efforts to get financial assistance to Ukraine. We also welcome the steps the OECD has taken to restrict Russia’s participation in relevant bodies.

Third, we commit to continuing our campaign of pressure against Russian elites, proxies and oligarchs close to President Putin and other architects of the war as well as their families and their enablers. We commend the work done by many of our governments to identify and freeze mobile and immobile assets belonging to sanctioned individuals and entities, and resolve to continue this campaign of pressure as a matter of priority. To that end, we have operationalised the task force announced on February 26, which will target the assets of Russian elites close to President Putin and the architects of his war. Our sanctions packages are carefully targeted so as not to impede the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

“Fourth, we commit to maintaining the effectiveness of our restrictive measures, to cracking down on evasion and to closing loop-holes. Specifically, in addition to other measures planned to prevent evasion, we will ensure that the Russian state and elites, proxies and oligarchs cannot leverage digital assets as a means of evading or offsetting the impact of international sanctions, which will further limit their access to the global financial system. It is commonly understood that our current sanctions already cover crypto-assets. We commit to taking measures to better detect and interdict any illicit activity, and we will impose costs on illicit Russian actors using digital assets to enhance and transfer their wealth, consistent with our national processes.

“Fifth, we are resolved to fighting off the Russian regime’s attempts to spread disinformation. We affirm and support the right of the Russian people to free and unbiased information.

“Sixth, we stand ready to impose further restrictions on exports and imports of key goods and technologies on the Russian Federation, which aim at denying Russia revenues and at ensuring that our citizens are not underwriting President Putin’s war, consistent with national processes. We note that international companies are already withdrawing from the Russian market. We will make sure that the elites, proxies and oligarchs that support President Putin’s war are deprived of their access to luxury goods and assets. The elites who sustain Putin’s war machine should no longer be able to reap the gains of this system, squandering the resources of the Russian people.

“Seventh, Russian entities directly or indirectly supporting the war should not have access to new debt and equity investments and other forms of international capital. Our citizens are united in the view that their savings and investments should not fund the companies that underpin Russia’s economy and war machine. We will continue working together to develop and implement measures that will further limit Russia’s ability to raise money internationally.

“We stand united and in solidarity with our partners, including developing and emerging economies, which unjustly bear the cost and impact of this war, for which we hold President Putin, his regime and supporters, and the Lukashenko regime, fully responsible. Together, we will work to preserve stability of energy markets as well as food security globally as Russia’s invasion threatens Ukraine’s capacity to grow crops this year.

“We continue to stand with the Ukrainian people and the Government of Ukraine. We will continue to evaluate the impacts of our measures, including on third countries, and are prepared to take further measures to hold President Putin and his regime accountable for his attack on Ukraine.

EU targets Russia Wagner group

Brussels 14.12.2021 Anna van Densky The European Council adopted a set of restrictive measures against the Wagner Group, a Russia-based private military entity. The measures target the Wagner group itself, and also eight related individuals.(Image above: illustration)

According to the EU Council statement, the Wagner Group has recruited, trained and sent private military operatives to conflict zones around the world to “fuel violence, loot natural resources and intimidate civilians in violation of international law, including international human rights law”.

The individuals listed by the EU are involved in “serious human rights abuses”, including “torture and extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and killings, or in destabilising activities” in some of the countries and regions they operate in, including Libya, Syria, Donbass and the Central African Republic (CAR). The group is also spreading its influence elsewhere, notably in Africa in Sahel region. For these reasons the group constitutes a “threat for the people in the countries were they are present, the wider region and for the European Union”.

The aim of today’s decision is to curtail the subversive activities of the Wagner Group. It signals the EU’s strong determination to stand up for its interests and values in its neighbourhood and beyond, and to take tangible action against those threatening international peace and security, and breaching international law.

The restrictive measures imposed today were agreed under four sanctions regimes: the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, and sanctions regimes relating to the situation in Libya and Syria, as well as for actions undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

From now onwards the listed individuals and entities will be subject to an asset freeze in the EU. In addition, listed individuals will be subject to a travel ban to the EU. Moreover, persons and entities in the EU will be prohibited from making funds available, either directly or indirectly, to those listed.

The relevant legal acts, including the names of the persons and entities concerned, have been published in the Official Journal.

EU-Belarus: new wave of sanctions

Brussels 14.11.2021 As the European Union faces a new migration crisis, organised by Belarus which encourages the entry of migrants into EU countries, the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell (pictured) said the bloc is ready for a new wave of sanctions.

The EU diplomat deplores the situation and announces a new wave of sanctions to come against a number of Belarusian personalities. However Borrell also talks about Poland and its affront to the rule of law.

“We push the migrants: they leave 12 countries and Belarus pushes them against the border. We can end up in a humanitarian drama: it is an attack on the dignity of migrants that we bring to a dead end. (…) Yes, we are going to vote for a fifth round of sanctions, relating to those who organise these trips. (…) Lukashenko has imprisoned 35,000 people. If he could cut off the gas, he would, but the the Russians are not going to let him do it because the gas is sold by them.”

Poland wants to build an anti-migrant wall with the help of European funds, while Brussels wants to cut off funding for its breaches of the rule of law. For Josep Borrell, “there are more walls in Europe today than at the time of the Berlin Wall. However, it is not with walls that we are going to stop the migration problems”.

Regarding the “strategic compass” to guide Europeans in their diplomacy, the EU diplomat believes that “Europe is in a very dangerous environment and must have complementary instruments to NATO in order to be able to intervene in an environment that concerns it.”

EU: Lebanon restrictive measures

Brussels 30.07.2021 Today the Council adopted a framework for targeted restrictive measures to address the situation in Lebanon. This framework provides for the possibility of imposing sanctions against persons and entities who are responsible for undermining democracy or the rule of law in Lebanon through any of the following actions:

obstructing or undermining the democratic political process by persistently hampering the formation of a government or by obstructing or seriously undermining the holding of elections;
obstructing or undermining the implementation of plans approved by Lebanese authorities and supported by relevant international actors, including the EU, to improve accountability and good governance in the public sector or the implementation of critical economic reforms, including in the banking and financial sectors and including the adoption of transparent and non-discriminatory legislation on the export of capital;
serious financial misconduct, concerning public funds, insofar as the acts concerned are covered by the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, and the unauthorised export of capital.

Sanctions consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed.

« Older Entries