December 20, 2023

EU imposes additional economic and individual sanctions on Russia

On December 18, 2023, the Council of the European Union adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2023/2874 to impose a twelfth package of restrictive measures against Russia.  Aimed at limiting Russia’s ability to fund the war in Ukraine, the new package targets more than 140 individuals and entities that support Russian war efforts, including persons in the military and defense industries, the IT sector, those involved in the spread of disinformation/propaganda regarding the war, and those involved in the forced re-education of Ukrainian children.  The measures also include new prohibitions on the import of diamonds from Russia, including Russian-origin diamonds, diamonds exported from or transiting Russia, and Russian diamonds processed in third countries.  As of January 1, 2024, the European Union will impose a direct ban on non-industrial natural and synthetic diamonds and diamond jewelry.  The European Union will also gradually impose an indirect import ban on Russian diamonds processed in third countries beginning on March 1, 2024, to be completed by September 1, 2024.

The Council also added 29 Russian and third country entities to the list of companies that support Russia’s military industrial complex.  These entities will be subject to tighter export controls and restrictions concerning dual use goods and technologies.  The European Union also expanded the list of restricted items that could be used by Russia to enhance its defense and security sectors to include certain chemicals, lithium batteries, and DC motors and servomotors for unmanned aerial vehicles.  The Council also introduced a new restriction on the import of liquefied propane that will be imposed gradually over a 12-month period.  There is also a restriction on the import of goods that generate significant revenue for Russia, including copper and aluminum wire, pig iron and foil.  Some import exemptions were also issued to accommodate certain personal use items carried by travelers who wish to enter the European Union,, and cars that have diplomatic registration plates.

The European Union has also strengthened its enforcement and anti-circumvention measures by extending its transit ban to include battlefield goods exported from the European Union to third countries via the territory of Russia.  The Council also introduced a new restriction that prevents Russian nationals from owning or controlling governing bodies that provide crypto-asset or related services to Russian persons.  There is also new prohibition on the provision of services involving software for the management of enterprises and industrial design and manufacturing.  In addition, the Council strengthened efforts to enforce the oil price cap and prevent its circumvention by enhancing information sharing mechanisms to improve the identification of vessels and entities involved in deceptive practices.  The Council also imposed a new notification rule that requires the disclosure of the sale of tankers to any third country in order to prevent second-hand carriers from being used to evade price cap restrictions.

On December 18, 2023, the European Commission also welcomed the adoption of new sanctions by the Council, and published questions and answers that provide an overview of new restrictive measures adopted by the Council and the reasons why new restrictions were imposed.

Council of the EU Press Release | Council Decision (CFSP) 2023/2878 | European Commission Press Release