In the final few days of September, the U.S. and global allies issued a number of sanctions and export controls against actors who have supported Russia’s referendums in Ukraine and related attempts to annex four Ukrainian territories. The referendums have been condemned by the Group of 7 (G7) nations, which committed to imposing further economic costs on individuals and entities both inside and outside of Russia.
The latest measures include actions by the Office of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the U.S. Department of State, and the United Kingdom (UK) Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), as well as further announcements from the European Union (EU), described in turn below.
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.
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.
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.
On 22 March 2021, the EU added 11 Burmese officials responsible for last month’s military coup in Myanmar to its sanctions list. The designations are made in response to “the illegitimate over-throwing of the democratically-elected government and the brutal repression by the junta against peaceful protesters” under Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/478 and Council Decision 2021/483. (See the EU Press Release.) The U.S. government issued a statement highlighting the EU action and those of other countries and announced further sanctions designations of its own.
On January 19, the European Commission released a strategy intended to “stimulate the openness, strength and resilience of the EU’s economic and financial system.” One of the key pillars of the strategy is centered around strengthening the implementation and enforcement of EU sanctions.
The strategy highlights current weaknesses in the EU sanctions regime, including the lack of uniformity in application and enforcement between Member States. It is thought that these inconsistencies create uncertainty and assist in sanctions evasion.
The EU’s new global human rights sanctions regime came into force on December 8. Council Regulation (EU) 2020/1998 provides for the freezing of funds and economic resources and travel bans on those responsible for or involved in serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide. Individuals and entities who provide financial, technical or material support for, or are otherwise involved in or associated with, listed individuals or entities may also be targeted .
Announced last week, “INSTEX had been made operational and available to all EU Member States.” INSTEX is the special purpose financing channel designed by the EU to permit the processing of payments for trade between the EU and Iran. INSTEX was deemed necessary by the EU in light of the refusal by many private banks to process payments for trade between the EU and Iran that continues to be authorized by the EU despite the U.S. withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) resulting in the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions.