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New sanctions against Russia adopted by the EU and US

February 24, 2024, marked the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It is on this symbolic date that the European Union adopted new sanctions against the Russian Federation with its 13th sanctions package. Although the 12th sanctions package only entered into force on 19 December 2023, the EU Member States already unanimously reached an agreement on the 13th sanctions package last week. These newest sanctions will likely enter into force this week.

The 13th sanctions package bans close to 200 individuals and entities accused of procuring weapons for Russia or of being involved in the kidnapping of Ukrainian children. These newly designated individuals and entities are banned from doing any business in the European Union (nor will these designated individuals be able to travel to the European Union). The new EU sanctions package specifically targets the supply chain to make drones, therewith cutting Russia’s access to drones, as the European Commission announced last week on ‘X’.

The 13th package further aims to combat circumvention of the sanctions in place by blacklisting companies outside of Russia as well. Entities to be included on the sanctions list concern companies from Turkey, North Korea, Kazakhstan, India, Serbia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and China which have allegedly been involved with the supply of military technologies to the Russian Federation. Once these entities have been added to Annex IV of Reg. (EU) 833/2014, EU firms can no longer sell dual-use goods to them. Under the current sanctions regime, European entities are expected to prevent circumvention of the sanctions as well, for example by checking who will (indirectly) receive a certain product. This can be quite a burdensome task.

The current designation of approximately 2,000 individuals and entities will also be renewed for another six months. Meanwhile, several Member States in the European Union are of the opinion that the current sanctions list is not broad enough and should be extended to include at least 6,000 individuals and entities. However, in practice it has been proven difficult for the Member States of the European Union to reach consensus on this matter. 

Meanwhile, the United States also announced a major package of new sanctions against Russia last Friday. These US sanctions also target Russia’s access to military technology and include the designation of companies in third countries as well in order to prevent circumvention of the current sanctions regime in place.

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