On 15 September 2017, a series of legal acts approved by the Council of the European Union and prolonging until 15 March 2018 the restrictive measures over actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine was published on the Official Journal of the European Union (Regulation (EU) 2017/1547, Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1549, Decision (CFSP) 2017/1561).
The measures consist of asset freezes and travel bans and, due to their revision, they now apply to 149 persons and 38 entities. In particular, four deceased persons were removed from the list of persons subject to these restrictive measures; also, following a merger involving three listed entities, these entities were removed from the list and the entity into which they have merged was added.
The prolonged measures add to other EU measures in place in response to the Ukraine crisis, that include economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy, currently in place until 31 January 2018, and restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, in place until 23 June 2018.
The economic sanctions toward Russia limit access to EU primary and secondary capital markets for certain Russian banks and companies, impose an export and import ban on trade in arms, establish an export ban for dual-use goods for military use or military end users in Russia and curtail Russian access to certain sensitive technologies and services that can be used for oil production and exploration.
The restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol include an import ban on goods from Crimea and Sevastopol, restrictions on trade and investment related to certain economic sectors and infrastructure projects, a prohibition to supply tourism services in Crimea or Sevastopol and an export ban for certain goods and technologies.
In the context of the actions taken by the EU in support of Ukraine, the EU has also granted trade preferences to Ukraine by introducing autonomous trade measures, thereby unilaterally removing customs duties. In this regard, it is expected that on 1 October 2017 new autonomous trade measures will enter into force, allowing several agricultural and industrial goods from Ukraine to get better access to the EU market, as they would be exported tariff-free. Moreover, additional liberalizations for barley, wheat and maize will start applying as from 1 January 2018.