Sanctions regime against Russia

 

Since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine at the end of 2013, the Russian Federation has played an unconstructive role, especially by illegally annexing the Crimea and contributing to the destabilisation of eastern Ukraine through its political and material support to a range of armed pro-independence groups.

On numerous occasions, the European Union and its G7 partners have denounced Russia's actions, which undermine Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In order to change Russia's position and convince it to contribute actively and unambiguously to the search for a sustainable political solution to the Ukrainian crisis, the European Union decided on an initial package of sanctions on 17 March 2014. A second package followed on 16 July 2014.

On 17 July 2014, the tragedy of flight MH17, most likely shot down by separatists supported and armed by Russia, marked another turning point in the Ukrainian crisis. More than ever, it is becoming essential for Russia to cease its support for separatist groups and to secure its border with Ukraine in order to stop the flow of arms and fighters between the two countries.

On 31 July 2014, the European Union adopted a third package of sector-specific restrictive measures against Russia, this time including economic sanctions.

In parallel, the EU has put in place trade and investment restrictions on Crimea and Sevastopol, in line with the EU's policy of non-recognition of the illegal Russian annexation of this region.

Many of the EU's partners, including G7 members, have also adopted sanctions against Russia, and fully share the EU's approach on this issue.

The EU's ultimate objective is to find a sustainable political solution to the Ukrainian crisis, allowing the country to focus on its development and reconstruction, based on the Minsk Agreements. The European Union will therefore continue its dialogue with Russia to ensure that the country contributes to the international community's efforts to bring peace to Ukraine.

As a result, three EU sanctions regimes against Russia are currently in force:

  1. Restrictions on trade and investment with regard to Crimea and Sevastopol. These restrictions include a ban on new investment in Crimea and Sevastopol in the following areas: infrastructure projects in the transport, telecommunications and energy sectors; and exploitation of oil, gas and mining resources.
  2. Travel restrictions and asset freezes against individuals and entities of the Russian Federation materially or financially supporting actions that threaten or undermine the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
  3. Economic sanctions, including limiting access to primary and secondary European capital markets for some Russian financial institutions; imposing an arms trade embargo on Russia; banning the export of dual-use goods to military end-users; and restricting Russian access to sensitive technologies in the energy sector.

 
More information

Information Note to EU business operating and/or investing in Crimea/Sevastopol, for companies interested in working in this region: http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-12078-2014-REV-2/en/pdf

Legal documents (European decisions and regulations) concerning Russia are available here:

EU regulations (and subsequent amending regulations) are directly applicable in Belgium. For any questions about the implementation of the sanctions in Belgium, we refer to the competent authorities. For more general questions about the Belgian sanctions policy, please contact: sanctions@diplobel.fed.be