On July 21, 2022, the European Union (EU) published a new package of sanctions against Russia, which it refers to as a “maintenance and alignment” package.
The new sanctions prohibit the purchase and import of Russian gold (including jewellery), extend and amend export restrictions, extend existing port access bans, and expand the scope of the prohibition on accepting deposits. They also make the exemption for non-prohibited cross-border trade subject to a license requirement. At the same time, the new measures clarify the scope of sanctions in public procurement, aviation and justice, as well agricultural transactions and oil transport. Finally, several new designations have been included.
Our team sets out the main takeaways below. EU sanctions are binding on nationals of an EU Member State wherever located, legal entities incorporated within an EU Member State, all persons located within the EU, all persons in respect of business done in whole or in part within the EU, and to all persons on board aircraft and vessels holding the jurisdiction of an EU Member State (EU Persons).
Gold import restrictions
The new measures first target the purchase, import or transfer of gold which originates in Russia, or which has been exported from Russia. This also includes the prohibition to purchase, import or transfer gold from third countries if it contains Russian-origin gold or exported therefrom. The provision of technical, financing or financial assistance, brokering services or other services, as well as the provision, manufacture, maintenance and use of these goods is equally prohibited.
Second, the maintenance and alignment package has expanded the list of goods and technology that may not be exported or provided to Russian persons or for use in Russia. This applies in particular to products and technology which (i) contribute to the military and technological enhancement, or the development of the defence and security sector of Russia, and (ii) could contribute to the enhancement of Russian industrial capacities.
At the same time, a medical and humanitarian exception was added as regards such export restrictions.
The transaction ban with certain state-owned entities
Third, the new measures have added further exemptions in relation to the transaction ban with certain state-owned entities. This includes transactions necessary for the transfer of certain products from Russia into the EU, the EEA, Switzerland or the Western Balkans, wind-down transactions, transactions needed to ensure access to proceedings, and a medical and humanitarian exception.
Technical assistance to Russia in relation to aviation goods and technology
Fourth, the new measures clarify that the existing ban on certain aviation goods and services does not prohibit the sharing of technical assistance to Russia for aviation goods and technology insofar as it is needed to safeguard the technical industrial standard setting work of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
Russian vessels port and locks access ban
Fifth, the EU has extended the existing port access ban to locks. At the same time, some exceptions for Russian vessels are provided where the use of Russian-registered vessels is contractually required, or necessary for unloading of goods needed to complete renewable energy projects in the EU.
Sixth, by way of the new measures, the EU has expanded the scope of the prohibition on accepting deposits beyond €100,000 to include those from legal persons, entities or bodies established in third countries and majority-owned by Russian nationals or people residing in Russia. The acceptance of deposits for non-prohibited cross-border trade will be subject to a prior authorization by the national competent authorities, where previously it constituted an exception without license requirement.
Seventh, concerning the existing consulting and business services ban as set out in Article 5n of Regulation 833/2014, the exception for Russian entities owned or controlled by an EU entity has been expanded to also apply to Russian entities owned or controlled by EU, EEA or Swiss parent entities.
The execution of public contracts prohibitions
Eighth, the new measures expand the list of public tenders to include tenders under the EU Euratom Regulation.
Finally, as part of the seventh package of sanctions, the EU has designated an additional 48 individuals and nine legal entities to the sanctions list. In addition, the EU decided to list four individuals and one entity from Syria for military support provided by Syria to Russia.