Our previous updates on sanctions imposed on Russia in relation to its activities in Ukraine can be found here, here, here, here and here.
On 25 February 2022, the US imposed sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimo These individuals have been added to the SDN list.
On 28 February 2022:
- The US issued new Directive 4 under Executive Order 14024, which prohibits US persons from engaging in transactions with the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBR), the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Russia’s Ministry of Finance. All three have been added to the US Non-SDN Menu-Based Sanctions List. The also blocked and designated as SDNs the Russian Direct Investment Fund and its CEO, Kirill Dmitriev, Joint Stock Company Management Company of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, and l Limited Liability Company RVC Management Company, one of the managing company’s subsidiaries.
- The US also issued General License 8A, which authorizes certain energy-related transactions with the Central Bank of the Russian Federation.
On 25 February 2022, the EU agreed on a further sanctions package targeting various sectors of the Russian economy and also senior political and military leaders in Russia and Belarus.
This new package includes the following measures:
- Designations of senior Russian and Belarusian individuals as asset freeze targets, including President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov.
- Prohibitions on the export of controlled dual-use items to any Russian person or for use in Russia, and related technical assistance, brokering activities, financing and financial assistance. The restricted items include goods and technologies deemed as those which “might contribute to Russia’s military and technological enhancement, or the development of the defence and security sector”.
- Similar broad export restrictions have been imposed targeting items suited for oil refining and aircraft (and aircraft parts).
- Further financial and capital markets restrictions targeting additional Russian banks and other energy and defence companies, including four banks (Alfa Bank, Bank Otkritie, Bank Rossiya and Promsvyazbank) and eight well-known companies (Almaz-Antey, Kamaz, Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port, Rostec, Russian Railways, Sevmash, Sovcomflot and United Shipbuilding Corporation); and
- A prohibition of all transactions related to the management of the CBR’s reserves and assets.
As of 28 February 2022, no aircraft operated by any Russian air carrier may land in, take off from or overfly EU territory.
The UK announced on 25 and 28 February 2022 that it would be introducing legislation to align its Russia sanctions program with that of its multilateral partners. The measures announced include:
- The designation of President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov as asset freeze targets.
- The immediate designation as asset freeze targets of three additional Russian banks: VEB RF, Bank Otkritie, and PJSC Sovocombank, as of 28 February 2022.
- Introduction of restrictions to prohibit any UK natural or legal persons from undertaking financial transactions involving the CBR, the Russian National Wealth Fund, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.
- Introduction of new powers to prevent Russian banks from clearing payments in Sterling.
- Further restrictions on well-known Russian companies seeking to raise debt in the UK and accessing UK capital markets; and
- Prohibitions on the exports to Russia across a range of critical sectors, including high- tech equipment such as micro-electronics, marine, and navigation equipment.
In a demonstration of its post-Brexit sanctions powers, the UK has issued a number of US-style General Licences to facilitate the wind down of activities affected by these prohibitions.
In a letter issued to UK ports on 28 February 2022, the Transport Secretary, possibly in anticipation of the introduction of further restrictive measures, advised ports to refuse any ship that they believe to be owned, controlled, chartered or operated by any person connected with Russia or a sanctioned person or flagged or registered in Russia.
On February 25, 2022, the Canadian Prime Minister announced that Canada would join its multilateral partners in imposing sanctions directly on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle of advisers, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov.
The Canadian government subsequently announced:
- It would impose restrictive measures that were intended to prevent the CBR from “deploying its international reserves in ways that undermine the impact of our sanctions”. It is anticipated that such measures are intended to be substantively equivalent to similar measures adopted by the US; and
- On 27 February 27 2022, Canada would close its airspace to Russian aircraft operators effective immediately.
Since our last update, Australia has imposed further measures to further align its sanctions policy with its multilateral partners.
On 26 February 2022, further targeted financial sanctions and travel bans were passed with an effective date of 27 February in respect of:
- two key figures in charge of Belarusian defence and state policy; and
- six entities (plus five of their directors) that are either linked the Belarusian Armed Forces or Russian military, or that provide software for the use of surveillance and facial recognition technology used to persecute protestors speaking against the Belarusian and Russian governments.
On 27 February, the Australian Government imposed sanctions on President Putin, and four of his senior officials: Sergei Lavrov (Foreign Minister), Vladimir Kolokoltsev (Minister for Internal Affairs), Mikhail Mishustin (Prime Minister) and Sergei Shoigu (Defence Minister). These designations came into effect on Monday, 28 February.
Since our last update, the US, EU, UK, and others, have indicated that they intend to “remove certain Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system”. As the measures giving effect to this objective take shape over the coming days, we have considered the implications of such a step in a separate post.
The US, EU, UK, and others are broadly aligned, from a policy objective, in terms of the effect that the latest package of sanctions seeks to achieve. However, from a sanctions compliance and risk mitigation perspective, the extent of any nuances or divergence in the respective legislative text (particularly as between the UK and EU) will be of interest for multinational companies trading across these jurisdictions.
As we continue to monitor and update you on development, we encourage readers to subscribe to be kept informed of new developments.