Update on sanctions developments in connection with Russia's continuing war of aggression against Ukraine


Ukraine flag painted on textured wall.

On the one-year anniversary of Russia's war of aggression, the EU adopted its tenth sanctions package against the Russian federation and its government. The latest package is intended to step up the pressure on the Russian government and those who support the war of aggression. Read more about the previous sanctions package from the EU here. These new rules are not yet implemented in Norwegian law, however as per normal practice, we can typically expect their implementation in the coming weeks.

The new measures include:

Export controls and restrictions

This latest package includes additional export bans on aviation & space technology , and goods goods which that could contribute to the enhancement of Russian industrial capabilities, such as electronics, different specialised vehicles, machine parts, parts for trucks and jet engines, as well as certain goods used in the construction sectorindustry. 

The package also features further restrictions on dual-use goods and technology on the advanced technologies list, including new components that can be used in weapon systems such as drones, missiles and helicopters. Certain rare earth materials and thermal cameras with military applications are also targeted by export controls. 

According to the EU, the new export controls and sanctions cover EU exports worth EUR 11.4 billion (based on data from 2021). Previous export controls and restrictions amount to approx. EUR 32.5 billion. Combined, the EU has now sanctioned exports worth almost 50% of its 2021 exports to Russia. 

Import bans and restrictions

Along with the export controls and restrictions, the EU also includes additional import bans in the tenth sanctions package. These are included as addition to the list of goods generating significant revenues for Russia. The import of bitumen and related materials, such as asphalt, and synthetic rubber and carbon blacks from Russia are now banned. 

According to data from the EU, the new import bans cover EU imports worth almost EUR 1.3 billion. Previous import sanctions amount to approx. EUR 90 billion. In total, the EU has now sanctioned imports worth almost 58% of the EU's imports from Russia in 2021. Additional listings of persons and entities

The EU has targeted 121 new individuals and entities with restrictive measures, of which 96 entities are associated with Russia's military-industrial complex. This brings the total of military end-users listed to 506, and the total of listed individuals and entities to 1,678. 

The new listings include 87 new persons and 34 entities added to the asset freeze list, i.e. the strictest list. Among these are e.g.:

  • Persons associated with the Russia-controlled paramilitary group called the "Wagner Group".
  • Iranian nationals in drone supplier companies, as a response to Iran's Revolutionary Guards alleged provision of Shahed drones that are used to attack civilian infrastructure in Ukraine
  • Three additional Russian banks: Alfa-Bank, Rosbank and Tinkoff Bank
  • The National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, which is a reserve fund controlled by the government, and which has been used to cover Russian budget deficits.
  • The Russian National Reinsurance Company, a subsidiary of the Bank of Russia which is functioning as the main reinsurer of Russian ships responsible for the export of Russian oil, including Sovcomflot’s fleet, after Western insurance firms withdrew cover for Russian shipowners due to sanctions.
  • Limited Liability Company “Commercial Vehicles – GAZ Group”, Russia's top producer of commercial vehicles, buses, engines and special vehicles, which have manufactured vehicles to the Russian Armed Forces.
  • Atomflot, a Russian company that maintains Russia's icebreaker fleet. The Icebreaker fleet has been deemed as key to Russia's hydrocarbon strategy, with Russian petroleum exports shifting from Europe to Asia due to sanctions

Anti-circumvention and enforcement 

There has generally been an increased focus on circumvention and enforcement measures among the EU and other sanctions authorities. This has e.g. been an area of focus of the newly established Sanctions Coordinators Forum, which had its first meeting on 23 February 2023. The forum gathered EU Member Stations and international allies, including the US, UK, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and Ukraine. The Forum e.g. highlighted the issue of preventing circumvention through third countries, and the need to cooperate with third countries in this regard. The EU Sanctions Envoy David O’Sullivan e.g. recently visited the United Arab Emirates together with the US Sanctions Coordinator, Ambassador Jim O'Brien and the Director of the UK's Sanctions Directorate, Mr. David Reed.

The above is reflected in the tenth sanctions packages through e.g. new reporting obligations on funds and economic resources belonging to listed individuals and entities and new special reporting obligations regarding frozen reserves and assets of the Central Bank of Russia.

Furthermore, Sun Ship Management (D) ltd, a United Arab Emirates'-registered ship management company suspected of assisting Russia circumvent sanctions on oil exports, has also been listed as subject to asset freeze. This company is part of the PAO Sovcomflot group, Russia's largest shipping company. According to the EU, Sun Ship Management (D) Ltd has since the start of the war against Ukraine been operating as one of the key companies managing and operating the maritime transport of Russian oil.

Other key measures

  • Russian nationals and persons residing in Russia (except for EU, EEA and Swizz nationals) are now banned from serving on the governing bodies of EU Member States' critical infrastructure companies.
  • Russian nationals and entities are now prohibited from booking gas storage capacity in the EU (excluding LNG). This extends to entities directly or indirectly owned more than 50% by such persons or entities, and any person or entities acting on their behalf.

Wind-down periods and exit exemptions

Several of the new prohibitions contain limited exemptions, including to facilitate wind-down of activities. This includes for example the gas booking prohibition and several of the new export prohibitions, which do not apply for operations strictly necessary for termination by 27 March 2023 of contracts concluded before 26 February 2023 or of ancillary contracts necessary for execution of such contracts. Further exemptions are added to existing prohibitions to facilitate exit from Russian markets.

Sanctions compliance and AML - Schjødt is ready to assist

Navigating sanction risks in an increasingly complex and rapidly changing regulative environment is challenging. Norwegian entities that are directly or indirectly exposed to business partners in risk intense jurisdictions should conduct a sanctions risk assessment and implement targeted measures such as screening of counterparties and beneficial owners and negotiating robust compliance clauses in agreements. Having adequate and risk-based internal policies and procedures in place to ensure compliance with sanctions and other compliance risks such as money laundering and tax evasion is more important than ever. 

Please note that these updates do not constitute legal advice, nor do they provide an exhaustive description of all sanctions in place and the exemptions. Any person or entity involved in business activities in any way related to Russia, Belarus or Ukraine should carefully assess how they are affected by the sanctions. Schjødt's sanctions team is ready to assist in this regard.

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