June 27, 2023

EU adopts eleventh package of Russia-related sanctions to impede Russia’s war with Ukraine

On June 23, 2023, the Council of the EU adopted the eleventh package of economic and individual sanctions to restrict Russia’s efforts to circumvent sanctions and, thereby, reduce Russian revenues and erode Putin’s war machine. Within the package, the Council imposed restrictive measures on 71 additional individuals and 33 entities for engaging in actions that undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.  Individual sanctions include persons responsible for the forced transfer and deportation of Ukrainian children; senior military officials in Russian armed forces; and companies that manufacture of weapons and other equipment used in Russia’s war against Ukraine.  The Council also designated media executives, propagandists and others responsible for spreading disinformation, and the Foundation for the Support and Protection of the Right of Compatriots Living Abroad, and its executive director, for allegedly implementing foreign policy goals for the Russian Government.  The designations also include two separatist military officials convicted in a Dutch court for their role in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17; members of the Russian judiciary responsible for the convictions of Ukrainian citizens who opposed the annexation of Crimea; and individuals and entities, including Russian officials, accused of operating in the illegally annexed territories of Ukraine.  All of the new designees are subject to asset freezes and travel bans, and EU citizens and companies are prohibited from making funds available to them.

In an effort to curb the circumvention of sanctions involving third-countries, the EU adopted a new approach.  The Council decided to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation with third countries and increase the provision of technical assistance to them.  If measures fail to yield the intended results, the EU is  authorized to take targeted actions aimed solely at depriving resources to Russia – actions that could include the imposition of individual measures against third-country operators involved in sanctions evasion, followed by a constructive dialogue with the third country to encourage it to impose measures that would deter other operators from engaging in similar conduct.  If these measures are unsuccessful, as a last resort, the Council may unanimously decide to restrict the sale, supply, transfer or export of sensitive dual-use goods and technology, or any other items that may enable Russia’s ability to sustain its war against Ukraine, to third countries that continue to pose a high risk of being used for circumvention.

To further minimize the risk of sanctions’ circumvention, the Council added to the list of goods and technology that are prohibited from transiting the territory of Russia.  The Council also added 87 additional companies to the list of entities that directly support Russia’s military and industrial complex and subject to increased export restrictions concerning dual use goods and technologies.  The list of items that could contribute to the technological enhancement of Russia’s defense and security sector was also expanded to cover several new items, including electronic and optical components, semiconductor materials, and navigational instruments.

The Council also extended the ban on the transport of goods into the EU by trailers or semi-trailers that are registered in Russia.  The EU also decided to ban certain vessels from accessing EU ports, including those that engage in certain ship-to-ship transfers of crude oil and petroleum products if authorities suspect that they contain Russia-origin products intended for the EU or products purchased over the prices agreed upon by the Price Cap Coalition, with certain exceptions.  The same prohibitions will also apply to vessels suspected of interfering with or disabling their navigation systems when transporting Russian-origin crude oil and petroleum products.

In order to address information warfare conducted by Russia, the EU suspended the broadcasting licenses of five additional media outlets that are allegedly under the permanent control of Russian leadership and have been used by Russia to spread propaganda and misinformation in the EU and neighboring countries.  The Council also introduced a new listing criterion to cover IT companies that provide critical technology and software to the Russian intelligence community and also issued certain individual sanctions based on the new criterion.

Finally, the Council ended the temporary exemption granted to Germany and Poland that enabled the supply of crude oil from Russia into the EU through Druzhba oil pipeline.  However, the transit of oil originating in Kazakhstan or another third country through Russia and into the EU via the Druzhba oil pipeline is not prohibited.

Council of the EU Press Release I | Council of the EU Press Release II | Official Journal of the EU – July 23, 2023 (L159I)