As anticipated in our recent Commentary, "Imposition of Sanctions Measures in Response to the Developing Crisis in Ukraine," recent developments have led to the imposition of further sanctions by the U.S. and European Union.
This Alert summarizes the key developments following our Commentary, as of March 18.
A referendum was held in the Autonomous Region of Crimea ("Crimea") on March 16. This was followed by a declaration of independence and application to join the Russian Federation by the regional parliament of Crimea on March 17. In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree that recognizes Crimea's independence and sovereignty. In response, the U.S. and European Union have imposed further sanctions arising out of the Ukrainian crisis as follows:
The United States has issued a new Executive Order that builds upon the sanctions imposed last week. The Order gives the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the U.S. Secretary of State, authority to target officials of the Government of the Russian Federation, any individuals or entities that operate in the arms or related sectors in the Russian Federation, and any individual or entity that is owned or controlled by, acts for or on behalf of, or provides material or other support to, any senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation or any person whose property is blocked pursuant to this Executive Order. Seven officials connected to Russia and/or Crimea have so far been designated by the United States, and thus blocked, under this Executive Order.
In addition, four individuals have been sanctioned under existing U.S. Executive Order 13660, issued on March 6, for actions that the United States considers to have threatened the security and stability of Ukraine and/or undermined the Government of Ukraine.
Accordingly, as to the 11 designated individuals, the United States has authorized the blocking of all of their assets, property, and interests in property that are in the United States, hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any U.S. person, and all U.S. persons are prohibited from dealing with these designated individuals. As noted in prior general guidance from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC"), U.S. persons are also prohibited from dealing with any entity in which a designated person (under the U.S. sanctions regime) owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, regardless of whether the entity itself is specifically designated. In addition, the United States has imposed a ban on entry into the United States of such designated persons.
At the same time, the European Union has approved Council Regulation No 269/2014 of March 17 (the "Regulation"), which imposes travel restrictions and asset freezes against persons whom the European Union considers are responsible for actions that undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of Ukraine, as well as their associated persons. The Regulation requires, among other matters, that (subject to few limited exceptions), all funds and economic resources belonging to, owned, held, or controlled by such designated persons are frozen, and that no funds or economic resources will be made available to such designated persons, whether directly or indirectly, within the ambit of the jurisdiction of the European Union's sanctions regime. So far, the European Union has designated 21 Russian and Crimean individuals under this Regulation.
There is only a limited crossover between the persons named on the U.S. and European Union's recent lists of further sanctions targets.
Finally, Canada has also adopted additional sanctions on March 17 relating to both Ukraine and Russia. Under these new measures, 24 individuals and one organization have become subject to sanctions within the ambit of the jurisdiction of Canada's sanctions regime.