Espreso. Global

EU approves 12th sanctions package against Russia

18 December, 2023 Monday

On December 18, the European Union approved the 12th sanctions package against the Russian Federation

This was reported on the website of the European Council. 

"The Council adopted today a twelfth package of economic and individual restrictive measures in view of the continued Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. These measures deliver a further blow to Putin’s ability to wage war by targeting high-value sectors of the Russian economy and making it more difficult to circumvent EU sanctions," the statement says.

"With this 12th package, we are putting forward a robust set of new listings and economic measures which will further weaken Russia’s war machine. Our message is clear, as I already stated when I chaired the informal Foreign Affairs Council in Kyiv: we remain steadfast in our commitment to Ukraine and will continue to support its fight for freedom and sovereignty," commented Josep Borrell, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The 12th package of sanctions contains a ban on the direct or indirect import, purchase or transfer of diamonds from Russia. This ban applies to diamonds originating in Russia, diamonds exported from Russia, diamonds in transit through Russia and Russian diamonds processed in third countries.

In addition, the direct ban applies to non-industrial natural and synthetic diamonds, as well as to diamond jewellery from 1 January 2024. In addition, an indirect ban on imports of Russian diamonds during processing (i.e. cutting and/or polishing) in third countries, including jewellery containing diamonds originating in Russia. It will be gradually introduced from March 1, 2024 to September 1, 2024. 

"This phasing-in of indirect import bans is justified by the need to deploy a traceability mechanism that enables effective enforcement measures and minimises disruptions for the EU market," the statement said.

The sanctions package also requires EU exporters to contractually prohibit the re-export to Russia and the re-export for use in Russia of particularly sensitive goods and technologies when selling, supplying, transferring or exporting to a third country, with the exception of partner countries. 

This article concerns prohibited items used in Russian military systems, found on the battlefield in Ukraine or critical to the development, production or use of these Russian military systems, as well as aviation goods and weapons.

In addition, the European Council added 29 new entities to the list of those directly supporting Russia's military-industrial complex in its war of aggression against Ukraine. They will be subject to stricter export restrictions on dual-use goods and technologies, as well as goods and technologies that could contribute to the technological improvement of the Russian defence and security sector. 

"Some of these 29 entities belong to third countries involved in the circumvention of trade restrictions, or are Russian entities involved in the development, production and supply of electronic components for Russia’s military and industrial complex," the European Council said.

The sanctions decision also expands the list of prohibited goods that could contribute to the technological improvement of the Russian defence and security sector, including: chemicals, lithium batteries, thermostats, DC motors and servo motors for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), machine tools and machine parts.

The EU imposed further restrictions on imports of goods that generate significant revenues for Russia and thus allow it to continue its aggressive war against Ukraine, such as cast iron, spiegel (mirror iron), copper wire, aluminium wire, foil, pipes worth a total of €2.2 billion a year. A new ban on imports of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is introduced with a 12-month transition period.

At the same time, the European Council introduced some exceptions to the import restrictions for personal use. These include personal hygiene items, clothing worn by travellers or contained in their luggage, and for vehicles with diplomatic licence plates for entry into the EU. In addition, to facilitate entry into the EU for EU citizens residing in Russia, Member States may allow the entry of their cars, provided that they are not for sale and are used for purely personal use.

The new package of sanctions will extend the transit ban, which currently applies to dual-use goods and technologies exported from the EU to third countries via Russia, to all military goods.

To further limit the possibilities of circumventing the sanctions, the European Council's decision includes a ban on Russian citizens owning, controlling or holding any positions in the governing bodies of legal entities, organisations or bodies that provide cryptocurrency wallets, accounts or custody services to Russian citizens and residents.

In addition, the prohibition on the provision of services will also be extended to the provision of enterprise management software and industrial design and manufacturing software.

The EU also introduces a notification requirement for the transfer of funds outside the EU by any legal entity established in the EU that is owned or controlled by a legal entity established in Russia or by a Russian citizen or individual residing in Russia.

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