Fri. May 27th, 2022
EU HR Josep Borrell Fontelles at the podium of the EU Parliament. Photo: Elyxandro Cegarra, © European Union, 2021

Brussels, 8 April 2022

In light of Russia’s continuing war of aggression against Ukraine, and the reported atrocities committed by Russian armed forces in Ukraine, the Council decided today to impose a fifth package of economic and individual sanctions against Russia.

The agreed package includes a series of measures intended to reinforce pressure on the Russian government and economy, and to limit the Kremlin’s resources for the aggression.

These latest sanctions were adopted following the atrocities committed by Russian armed forces in Bucha and other places under Russian occupation. The aim of our sanctions is to stop the reckless, inhuman and aggressive behaviour of the Russian troops and make clear to the decision makers in the Kremlin that their illegal aggression comes at a heavy cost. – Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

The package comprises:

  • a prohibition to purchase, import or transfer coal and other solid fossil fuels into the EU if they originate in Russia or are exported from Russia, as from August 2022. Imports of coal into the EU are currently worth EUR 8 billion per year
  • a prohibition to provide access to EU ports to vessels registered under the flag of Russia. Derogations are granted for agricultural and food products, humanitarian aid, and energy
  • a ban on any Russian and Belarusian road transport undertaking preventing them from transporting goods by road within the EU, including in transit. Derogations are nonetheless granted for a number of products, such as pharmaceutical, medical, agricultural and food products, including wheat, and for road transport for humanitarian purposes
  • further export bans, targeting jet fuel and other goods such as quantum computers and advanced semiconductors, high-end electronics, software, sensitive machinery and transportation equipment, and
  • new import bans on products such as: wood, cement, fertilisers, seafood and liquor. The agreed export and import bans only account for EUR 10 billion and EUR 5.5 billion respectively.
  • a series of targeted economic measures intended to strengthen existing measures and close loopholes, such as: a general EU ban on participation of Russian companies in public procurement in member states, the exclusion of all financial support to Russian public bodies. an extended prohibition on deposits to crypto-wallets, and on the sale of banknotes and transferrable securities denominated in any official currencies of the EU member states to Russia and Belarus, or to any natural or legal person, entity or body in Russia and Belarus.

Furthermore, the Council decided to sanction companies whose products or technology have played a role in the invasion, key oligarchs and businesspeople, high-ranking Kremlin officialsproponents of disinformation and information manipulation, systematically spreading the Kremlin’s narrative on Russia’s war aggression in Ukraine, as well as family members of already sanctioned individuals, in order to make sure that EU sanctions are not circumvented.

Moreover a full transaction ban is imposed on four key Russian banks representing 23% of market share in the Russian banking sector. After being de-SWIFTed these banks will now be subject to an asset freeze, thereby being completely cut off from EU markets.

In its conclusions of 24 March 2022, the European Council stated that the Union remains ready to close loopholes and target actual and possible circumvention of the restrictive measures already adopted, as well as to move quickly with further coordinated robust sanctions on Russia and Belarus to effectively thwart Russian abilities to continue the aggression.

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine grossly violates international law and is causing massive loss of life and injury to civilians. Russia is directing attacks against the civilian population and is targeting civilian objects, including hospitals, medical facilities, schools and shelters. These war crimes must stop immediately. Those responsible, and their accomplices, will be held to account in accordance with international law. The siege of Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities, and the denial of humanitarian access by Russian military forces are unacceptable. Russian forces must immediately provide for safe pathways to other parts of Ukraine, as well as humanitarian aid to be delivered to Mariupol and other besieged cities.

The European Council demands that Russia immediately stop its military aggression in the territory of Ukraine, immediately and unconditionally withdraw all forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine, and fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders.

The relevant legal acts will soon be published in the Official Journal.

Source – EU Council


The European Commission welcomes today’s Council agreement  to adopt a 5th package of restrictive measures against Putin’s regime

The European Commission welcomes today’s agreement by the Council to adopt a fifth package of restrictive measures against Putin’s regimein response to its brutal aggression against Ukraine and its people. Together with the four previous packages, these sanctions will further contribute to ramping up economic pressure on the Kremlin and cripple its ability to finance its invasion of Ukraine. These measures are broader and sharper, so that they cut even deeper into the Russian economy. They have been coordinated with international partners.

The Commission and the EEAS are working on additional proposals for possible sanctions, including on oil imports, and are reflecting on some of the ideas presented by Member States, such as taxes or specific payments channels, such as an escrow account. Beyond sanctions, the EU has made it clear that reducing our dependence on energy imports from Russia is an urgent imperative. The Commission announced in its REPower Communication of 8 March a strategy to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels as soon as possible and work has started to implement this plan.

Today’s package contains the following six elements:

 1) Coal ban
  • An import ban on all forms of Russian coal. This affects one fourth of all Russian coal exports, amounting to around €8 billion loss of revenue per year for Russia.
 2) Financial measures
  • A full transaction ban and asset freeze on four Russian banks, which are now totally cut off from the markets. They represent 23% of market share in the Russian banking sector and will, therefore, further weaken Russia’s financial system.
  • A prohibition on providing high-value crypto-asset services to Russia. This will contribute to closing potential loopholes.
  • A prohibition on providing advice on trusts to wealthy Russians, making it more difficult for them to store their wealth in the EU.
3) Transport
  • A full ban on Russian and Belarusian freight road operators working in the EU. Certain exemptions will cover essentials, such as agricultural and food products, humanitarian aid as well as energy.
  • An entry ban on Russian-flagged vessels to EU ports. Exemptions apply for medical, food, energy, and humanitarian purposes, amongst others.
4) Targeted export bans
  • Further targeted export bans – worth €10 billion – in areas in which Russia is vulnerable due to its high dependency on EU supplies. This includes, for example, quantum computing, advanced semiconductors, sensitive machinery, transportation and chemicals. It also includes specialist catalysts for use in the refinery industry. This will continue to degrade Russia’s technological base and industrial capacity.
  • Adding jet fuel and fuel additives, which may be used by the Russian army, to the existing export ban.
5) Extending import bans
  • Additional import bans – worth €5.5 billion – including cement, rubber products, wood, spirits (including vodka), liquor, high-end seafood (including caviar), and an anti-circumvention measure against potash imports from Belarus. These measures will also help to close loopholes between Russia and Belarus.
6) Excluding Russia from public contracts and European money; legal clarifications and enforcement
  • Full prohibition on the participation of Russian nationals and entities in procurement contracts in the EU. Limited exceptions may be granted by the competent authorities where there is no viable alternative.
  • Restriction on financial and non-financial support to Russian publicly owned or controlled entities under EU, Euratom and Member State programmes. For instance, further to measures previously announced in research and education, the Commission will terminate participation in all ongoing grant agreements to Russian public bodies or related entities, and suspend all related payments, under Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe, Euratom, and Erasmus+. No new contracts or agreements with Russian public bodies or related entities will be concluded under these programmes.
  • Addressing various overlaps between export restrictions on dual-use items and advanced technologies and other provisions.
  • Extending to all official EU currencies the prohibitions on the export of banknotes and on the sale of transferrable securities.

The Commission also welcomes that an additional 217 individuals and 18 entities have now been sanctioned. This includes all 179 members of the so-called “governments” and “parliaments” of Donetsk and Luhansk. In total, 1091 individuals and 80 entities have been sanctioned since 2014.

Guidance on scrutinising foreign direct investments from Russia and Belarus

The Commission also published guidance on 5 April for EU Member States on assessing and preventing threats to EU security and public order from Russian and Belarusian investments. The guidance highlights the increased risk from investments subject to Russian or Belarusian government influence in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It calls for close cooperation between authorities involved in investment screenings and those responsible for the enforcement of sanctions. Member States are called upon to urgently set up comprehensive investment screening mechanisms if they have not done so already. They are also called upon to enforce anti-money laundering rules to prevent the misuse of the EU financial system by investors from Russia and Belarus.

Background

Today’s agreement builds on the wide-ranging and unprecedented packages of measures the EU has been taking in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine’s territorial integrity and mounting atrocities against Ukrainian civilians and cities.

As guardian of the EU Treaties, the European Commission is in charge of monitoring the enforcement of EU sanctions across the Union. The EU stands united in its solidarity with Ukraine and will continue to support Ukraine and its people together with its international partners, including through additional political, financial and humanitarian support.

For More Information

Questions and answers on the fifth package of restrictive measures against Russia [will be available later today]

European Commission website on Ukraine

Questions and answers on restrictive measures

Source – EU Commission