On February 10, 2022, the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 was signed into legislation in order to broaden the designation criteria of the UK Russia sanctions regulations in an effort to urge Russia to end its campaign of aggression in Ukraine and de-escalate growing tensions at the Ukraine border. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss initially announced the new legislation in Parliament on January 31, 2022 and intentions to toughen and expand sanctions beyond persons directly linked to the destabilization of Ukraine, in what Truss considered to be the toughest sanctions regime against Russia to date and the biggest change in approach since leaving the EU. According to Truss, the new legislation will enable the UK to act swiftly along with the US and other allies to freeze assets and ban travel if necessary.
The new amendment to Regulation 6 enables the UK to sanction persons (i) involved in destabilizing Ukraine or undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty or independence of Ukraine or (ii) are involved in obtaining any benefit from or supporting the Government of Russia. These sanctions also apply to individuals and entities directly or indirectly owned or controlled by a listed person, those acting on behalf or at the direction of a listed person, or associated with a listed person.
The designation criteria continues to allow for sanctions against those who provide funds to or financial support and services that promote destabilizing policies in Ukraine and extends the measures to cover entities and businesses affiliated with the Government of Russia or that have economic or strategic significance to the Russian government. “Sectors of strategic significance” are described broadly in the amended regulations to encompass the following industries: chemical, construction, defense, energy, electronics, extractives, financial services, information/communications/digital technology, and transport.