EU releases 10th package of sanctions against Russia
On 25 February 2023, the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the European Union implemented its 10th package of sanctions aimed at Russia and its supporters for their illegal aggression against Ukraine. The package includes additional listings, trade and financial sanctions, including further export bans valued at over €11 billion. These bans restrict Russia's access to vital technology and industrial products, with a view to further weakening its economy and limiting its capability to continue waging war on Ukraine. In addition, the enforcement and anti-circumvention measures have been strengthened, including a new reporting requirement for assets held by the Russian Central Bank.
The 10th package introduces the following new restrictions:
New individual listings
A significant number of additional individuals and entities have been designated as being subject to an asset freeze. The list of entities subject to asset freeze and restrictions on access to funds and economic resources now includes three Russian banks (Alfa Bank, Rosbank, and Tinkoff Bank). Furthermore, actions have been taken against individuals in Iran who are involved in the development of drones and components that support Russia's military. The EU has also focussed on the members and supporters of Russia's Wagner mercenary group and their activities in other countries such as Mali or Central African Republic.
Additional EU export bans and restrictions
Further export bans have been imposed on critical technology and industrial goods that include electronics, specialised vehicles, machine parts, spare parts for trucks and jet engines, and construction sector goods that can be used for Russia's military, such as antennas and cranes. The list of restricted items that could enhance Russia's defence and security sector now includes new electronic components that are retrieved from Russian weapons systems used on the battlefield, including drones, missiles, helicopters, specific rare earth materials, electronic integrated circuits, and thermal cameras. The European Council has also targeted dual-use goods and expanded the list of entities supporting Russia's military and industrial complex in its aggressive war, including an additional 96 entities and imposing tighter export restrictions on them. The European Council has also agreed to forbid the transit of EU exported dual-use goods and technology through Russia to prevent circumvention.
Finally, further restrictions have been placed on imports of goods that generate significant revenues for Russia, such as asphalt and synthetic rubber.
The European Council has taken steps to counter the Russian Federation's systematic international disinformation campaign aimed at destabilising neighbouring countries, EU member states, and the EU itself. In this regard, the European Council has initiated the process of suspending the broadcasting licenses of two additional media outlets, namely RT Arabic and Sputnik Arabic. These media outlets are permanently under the direct or indirect control of the Russian Federation's leadership and have been used to spread disinformation and war propaganda that legitimise Russia's aggression and undermine support for Ukraine.
These measures are in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights and will not prevent the media outlets and their staff from carrying out activities in the EU other than broadcasting, such as research and interviews.
A decision to limit the possibility for Russian nationals to hold any position in the governing bodies of critical infrastructures and entities in the EU, as Russia’s influence in these bodies could undermine their well-functioning and ultimately constitute a risk to the provision of essential services to the European citizens.
The European Council introduced the prohibition to provide gas storage capacity (with the exclusion of the part of LNG facilities) to Russian nationals, in order to protect the security of gas supply in the EU, and avoid Russia’s weaponisation of its gas supply and risks of market manipulation.
Significantly, to enhance the effectiveness of asset freeze prohibitions, the European Council has decided to implement more comprehensive reporting requirements regarding funds and economic resources owned by listed individuals and entities. These requirements will cover frozen assets as well as any recent transactions preceding the listing. Additionally, the European Council has introduced reporting obligations to Member States and the European Commission, concerning immobilised reserves and assets of the Central Bank of Russia. Furthermore, aircraft operators must now notify their national competent authorities of non-scheduled flights, and these authorities will subsequently inform other member states.
The European Council’s press release can be found here.
The European Commission’s press release can be found here.