Ukraine sanctions

On 17 June 2014, the US Department of Treasury announced that it was designating seven further individuals on the basis that they are responsible for or complicit in actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine, and/or asserting governmental authority over a part or region of Ukraine without the authorisation of the Government of Ukraine. The new designated persons are all described as Ukrainian separatists and are now subject to the asset freezing measures set out in Executive Order 13660.

There have also been further sanctions developments in Australia, with sanctions in respect of the situation in Ukraine coming into force on 19 June 2014. As previously reported, the federal government announced on 19 March, and further on 21 May, that Australia would be imposing targeted financial sanctions and travel bans against persons and entities involved in the situation in Ukraine. On 19 June 2014, the names of 50 individuals and 11 entities being designated for targeted financial sanctions or declared for travel bans were announced under the Autonomous Sanctions (Designated Persons and Entities and Declared Persons - Ukraine) List 2014. The names of these individuals and entities are available on the DFAT Consolidated List.

Following a meeting of EU foreign ministers on 23 June 2014, the EU adopted conclusions on Ukraine announcing, among other things, that, from 25 June, it would be introducing an import ban on goods originating from Crimea or Sevastopol, with the exception of those having been granted a certificate of origin by the government of Ukraine.  The EU also issued a press release confirming this new development.

This ban is set out in Council Decision 2014/386/CFSP and EU Regulation 692/2014.  These new measures prohibit the import into the EU of goods originating in Crimea or Sevastopol and also the provision, directly or indirectly, or financing, financial assistance, insurance and reinsurance related to such imports.  In addition to the exemption for goods granted a certificate of origin, there is also a limited exemption permitting the execution of contracts entered into prior to 25 June 2014, provided ten working days' notice is given to the relevant Member State.  However, this exemption is only available until 26 September 2014.

The EU's conclusions on Ukraine referred to above reiterate that preparatory work is being undertaken in relation to further targeted sanctions against Russia, should the situation in Ukraine escalate.  Comments by the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, indicate that the position will be reviewed further on 27 June when more information is available about the implementation of the currently proposed peace plan.  It therefore remains possible that further measures could be introduced at relatively short notice.

Developments in other sanctions regimes

Following the meeting on 23 June 2014, the EU has announced a number of amendments to other sanctions regimes, summarised below.

  • Libya:  two new regulations amend the EU's sanctions against Libya.  Two entities (Libyan Holding Company for Development and Investment and Dalia Advisory Limited) have been removed from the scope of the Libya asset freeze by EU Regulation 689/2014.  The EU has also amended the sanctions imposed by EU Regulation 204/2011 to introduce a new Article 10b introducing measures to restrict the illicit export of crude oil from Libya on designated vessels flying the flag of a Member State.  No vessels have yet been listed under these provisions but, when they are, the new restrictions will prohibit: (a) the loading, transport or discharge of crude oil from Libya on designated vessels, (b) providing access to EU ports to designated vessels, and (c) the provision of bunkering, ship supply services or other servicing of vessels to designated vessels.  Financial transactions with respect to crude oil aboard designated vessels (including the sale of the crude oil, the use of the crude oil as credit, and insurance) are also prohibited.  Full details of the new restrictions are set out in EU Regulation 690/2014. The EU has also adopted conclusions on Libya.
  • Central African Republic ("CAR"):  EU Regulation 691/2014 lists three individuals subject to the asset freeze introduced by EU Regulation 224/2014 in March.  The three individuals in question are said to have been engaged in or provided support for acts undermining the peace, stability or security of the CAR.  These are the first individuals to be listed under the EU's CAR sanctions.
  • Syria:  twelve additional individuals have been listed as subject to the Syrian asset freeze under EU Regulation 693/2014.  The individuals are all members of the Syrian government, including the ministers for Oil and Mineral Resources, Finance and Economy and Foreign Trade.