On May 8, 2022, the White House announced a number of new measures in response to Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine. The new measures include prohibitions on new categories of services to Russia by U.S. persons; export controls on certain industrial goods; and the addition of several shipping companies, bank executives, and television companies to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List.
EU introduces a fifth package of measures.
New asset freezes
On April 8, 2022, the EU published a fifth round of measures against Russia and Belarus. Spread across four regulations, the new measures include additional asset freezes against 217 individuals and 18 entities. Notable inclusions are Otkritie FC Bank, Novikombank, Sovcombank, VTB Bank, and JSC GTLK. The full list of new designations can be found in the Annex to Regulation (EU) 2022/581.
A wind down license is available for the termination of correspondent banking relationships with the newly frozen banks by October 9, 2022. A new ground for licensing has also been added so that member states may enable the sale by listed persons/entities of proprietary rights in EU companies, provided the proceeds of such sale and transfer remain frozen.
In the last month, the United States and global allies have issued unprecedented sanctions against Russia in response to the war in Ukraine. These sanctions apply ever-expanding pressure on the Russian economy and touch virtually every industry. This post addresses the latest U.S. sanctions against Russia in the following categories: new investment prohibitions, finance, energy sector import and export rules, general export and import controls, expanded sanctions designations, and denial orders for Russian airlines under export control authorities. The U.S. government already is actively implementing these authorities around the world, as evidenced by recent enforcement actions.
The listing of Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) has the potential to impact any American doing business with a named party, including landlords who lease real estate to sanctioned persons. In “Specially Designated Nationals as Tenants: How Landlords Can Be Impacted by Sanctions Against Russian Nationals,” Nancy A. Fischer, Rachel B. Horsch, Anne C. Lefever, Zachary C. Rozen and Samantha Franks explain how sanctions designations may require U.S. persons involved with sanctioned individuals to terminate existing contracts, including leases, and why it is important for landlords to conduct thorough due diligence on prospective tenants and to negotiate language that enables them to quickly terminate a lease if a tenant becomes subject to sanctions.
On 10 March 2022, the UK Government added a further seven oligarchs to its list of sanctions targets, including the owner of Chelsea football club, Roman Abramovich. This was closely followed on 11 March 2022 by the sanctioning of 386 members of the Russian Duma (comparable sanctions had already been imposed by the EU).
Further aircraft-related sanctions
Airport operators, air traffic controllers and the Secretary of State have been granted new powers to issue directions to Russian aircraft (e.g., to take off, not to take off, and to land) and to suspend and revoke permissions needed to operate. The new provisions also allow the detention and movement of Russian aircraft and prohibit a person from providing aircraft insurance or reinsurance services to a person connected with Russia or where the aircraft is for use in Russia.
On February 27, 2022, the U.S., UK and EU announced their agreement that certain Russian banks would be delisted from the Belgian-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT). The EU, which has jurisdiction over SWIFT, implemented sanctions measures that will ban the organization, effective March 12, 2022, from providing financial messaging support anywhere in the world for the following Russian financial institutions and their Russian subsidiaries:
- Bank Otkritie;
- Promsvyazbank (PSB);
- Bank Rossiya;
- Vnesheconombank (VEB); and
- VTB Bank
The SWIFT announcement has raised questions about how this action relates to existing sanctions and general licenses for Russian banks. We explore the differences below.
The EU and UK have imposed additional export controls and sanctions with respect to Russia and Belarus connected to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Below is a summary of key developments over recent days since our last blog post on EU and UK developments [here]. This is a rapidly developing area and future blog posts will summarize further developments.
On February 24, 2022, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued a final rule effective immediately imposing sweeping export control restrictions against Russia in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On March 2, 2022, BIS issued another final rule effective immediately imposing the same export restrictions against Belarus in response to Belarus’s role enabling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These actions are part of a larger set of recent sanctions and export control restrictions imposed by the U.S., UK, EU, Japan and other allies. Please see our prior posts available here, here, here, here, here, and here discussing recent sanctions and export control developments against Russia.
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, the global pressure on the Putin regime intensifies with the EU issuing additional sanctions and export controls on Friday evening (February 25). The legislation implementing the UK’s latest announced sanctions is expected early this week. Both the EU and the UK have added further persons to their respective asset freeze lists, and both have now designated Mr. Putin and his Foreign Minister, Mr. Lavrov.
The EU and UK have imposed further sanctions in response to the invasion of Ukraine and the recognition by Russia of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR) of Ukraine as independent territories.