On 17 March 2014, the US and EU both issued new sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian political and military officials involved in the ongoing Crimean crisis.

The US for the first time designated individuals under its Ukraine-related sanctions programme and issued new authority for further sanctions against Russian nationals. Only individuals rather than entities have been listed. All of the listed individuals are officials of the Russian government, the former Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovych, or the regime currently holding power in Crimea.

In particular, US President Barack Obama issued a new Executive Order, which blocks the property of seven senior Russian government officials listed in the Annex to the Executive Order. The designated individuals are Sergey Glazyev, Andrei Klishas, Valentina Ivanovna Matviyenko, Yelena Mizulina, Dmitry Olegovich Rogozin, Leonid Slutsky and Vladislav Yurievich Surkov.

The new Executive Order also authorises the Treasury Department to make future designations of (1) officials of the Government of the Russian Federation, (2) persons that operate in the arms or related materials sector in the Russian Federation, and (3) persons that are owned or controlled by, or provide material support to, senior officials of the Government of the Russian Federation or persons designated under this Executive Order.

According to a fact sheet issued by the White House press office, the goal of the US is to “hold accountable individuals who use their resources or influence to support or act on behalf of senior Russian government officials,” even though those individuals may not serve in any official capacity in the Russian government. The fact sheet goes on to say that the US government’s “current focus is to identify these individuals and target their personal assets, but not companies that they may manage on behalf of the Russian state.”

Also on 17 March, the Treasury Department designated four individuals under the authority of Executive Order 13360, issued on 6 March 2014, which targeted for sanctions persons that the US government determines are engaged in undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine or threatening the peace, security, stability, sovereignty or territorial integrity of Ukraine. Prior to Monday’s action, no one had been designated under Executive Order 13360. The designated individuals are Viktor Yanukovych, the former President of Ukraine; Viktor Medvedchuk, leader of the Ukrainian Choice group; Sergey Aksyonov, the self-claimed Prime Minister of Crimea; and Vladimir Konstantinov, who is acting as speaker of the Crimean parliament.

The property of these designated individuals, to the extent that such property is subject to US jurisdiction, is blocked (that is, their assets will be frozen) and they are denied entry to the US. Persons designated under Executive Order 13360 are tagged “[UKRAINE]” on the List of Specially Designated Nationals maintained by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), and persons designated under the new Executive Order of 17 March 2014 are tagged “[UKRAINE2]”.

In the EU, Council Regulation 269/2014 of 17 March 2014 imposed asset freezes against 21 individuals from Russia and Crimea. The restrictive measures seek to condemn the “unprovoked violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by the Russian Federation.” The designated individuals are as follows: Sergey Valeryevich Aksyonov; Vladimir Andreevich Konstantinov; Rustam Ilmirovich Temirgaliev; Deniz Valentinovich Berezovskiy; Aleksei Mikhailovich Chaliy; Pyotr Anatoliyovych Zima; Yuriy Zherebtsov; Sergey Pavlovych Tsekov; Viktor Alekseevich Ozerov; Vladimir Michailovich Dzhabarov; Andrei Aleksandrovich Klishas; Nikolai Ivanovich Ryzhkov; Evgeni Viktorovich Bushmin; Aleksandr Borisovich Totoonov; Oleg Evgenevich Panteleev; Sergei Mikhailovich Mironov; Sergei Vladimirovich Zheleznyak; Leonid Eduardovich Slutski; Aleksandr Viktorovich Vitko; Anatoliy Alekseevich Sidorov; and Aleksandr Galkin. The asset freeze has immediate effect in all Member States.

As with the previous set of Ukrainian sanctions, issued on 5 March 2014, the asset freeze prohibits EU persons - which includes persons within the EU as well as EU nationals - from dealing in funds or economic resources that belong to, are owned, controlled or held by the listed individuals. EU persons are also prohibited from making funds or economic resources available to the listed individuals, whether directly or indirectly. Licences are available in respect of the asset freeze on limited grounds.

EU Member States have also agreed to implement a travel ban in respect of the 21 individuals.

For a more detailed analysis of these sanctions, please see Client Update: The United States and European Union Impose Sanctions on Russian Officials.

Executive Order of 17 March 2014

Executive Order 13360 of 6 March 2014 White House Fact Sheet

Treasury Department Press Release

OFAC Announcement

Council Regulation 269/2014 (PDF)