EU adopts 14th package of sanctions against Russia

Brussels: The Commission welcomes the Council’s adoption of a 14th package of sanctions against Russia. The new package responds to the needs and findings on the ground, and tackles enforcement issues.

As the Russian aggression against Ukraine continues, the EU remains determined to keep acting to further reduce Russia’s sources of revenue and capacity to wage war. Today’s measures send a clear and strong signal of EU unity and of our support to Ukraine and its people.

The package contains important new energy-related measures targeting liquified natural gas (LNG), and measures targeting vessels which support Russia’s war. As regards LNG, the package prohibits all future investments in, and exports to, LNG projects under construction in Russia.

It will also prohibit, after a transition period of 9 months, the use of EU ports for the transshipment of Russian LNG. Moreover, the package prohibits the import of Russian LNG into specific terminals which are not connected to the EU gas pipeline network.

For the first time, the EU has adopted a measure targeting specific vessels contributing to Russia’s warfare against Ukraine, which are subject to a port access ban and ban on provision of services. These vessels can be designated for a broad array of reasons such as their support through the transport of military equipment for Russia, the transport of stolen Ukrainian grain and support in the development of Russia’s energy sector, for instance through the transport of LNG components or transshipments of LNG. This measure also targets tankers part of Putin’s dark fleet which circumvent the EU and Price Cap Coalition’s caps, while adopting deceptive shipping practices in complete disregard of international standards. In this first round of listings, the EU has placed 27 vessels on this list. This list can be updated as regularly as needed to address the ever-evolving involvement of those vessels helping Russia to wage war against Ukraine.

Moreover, the package introduces new listings targeting individuals and entities responsible for actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. A total of 116 additional listings of 69 individuals and 47 entities are subject to asset freezes, and – in the case of individuals – also to travel bans.

Today’s package significantly strengthens our financial sanctions by introducing a ban for EU banks outside Russia to use the financial messaging system SPFS, which is the Russian equivalent of SWIFT. It also allows the Council to draw up a list of non-Russian third country banks connected to such system; those banks will be banned from doing business with EU operators. Last, it introduces a ban on transactions with banks and crypto assets providers, in Russia and third countries, that facilitate transactions supporting Russia’s defence-industrial base. These new sanctions will curb the ability of the Kremlin to channel funds to finance its war machine.

One of the key objectives remains to continue limiting Russian revenues, and to reinforce export restrictions on industrial goods and advanced technology.

The package restricts export of nine additional dual-use and advanced technology items (e.g. microwave and aerial amplifiers, flight data recorders and All-Terrain Vehicles) and extends the export bans on certain types of industrial products chemical, plastics, vehicle parts and machinery goods (EUR 5 billion of EU exports prior to the invasion, in 2021). In addition, the export as well as the transfer of manganese ore are now prohibited.

The package also imposes stricter restrictions for the export of dual-use and advanced technology items to 61 entities – established in Russia (28) and in third countries (33) – which are directly or indirectly associated to Russia’s military complex and thus contribute to supporting the Russia’s war of aggression. In addition, the package also extends the import ban to helium which generates significant revenues for Russia.

As Russia is constantly looking for ways to circumvent sanctions, the EU has reassessed and adjusted its strategies. To further limit Russia’s ability to access restricted goods and technology, this package contains several measures meant to boost private sector compliance, support enforcement by national competent authorities, and hamper sanctions circumvention, including by keeping in check the foreign subsidiaries of EU operators.

It moreover includes specific initiatives to protect EU operators from expropriation and to respond to other illegitimate actions of the Russian state, including the theft of intellectual property.

The package also finetunes the import ban on Russian diamonds already agreed in the 12th sanctions package. It clarifies that the ban does not apply to diamonds that were located in the EU or in a third country (other than Russia), or were polished or manufactured in a third country, before the ban on Russian diamonds entered into force (so-called ‘grandfathering’). It also allows temporary imports or exports of jewellery, for example for trade fairs or repairs. Furthermore, the package prolongs by six months (until 1 March 2025) the sunrise period after which the full-traceability scheme for imports of rough and polished natural diamonds will become mandatory. In addition, it postpones the ban on jewellery incorporating Russian diamonds processed in third countries other than Russia until the Council decides to activate the ban in the light of action taken within the G7 to pursue that measure.

Furthermore, the new package includes measures that protect our democratic processes and combat Russian interference, such as prohibiting political parties from receiving funding from the Russian state. It also includes measures strengthening existing transport restrictions, and in particular the flight ban and the road transport prohibition.

The EU stands firmly with Ukraine and its people, and will continue to strongly support Ukraine’s economy, society, armed forces, and future reconstruction. EU sanctions are at the core of the EU’s response to Russia’s unjustified military aggression against Ukraine, as they degrade Russia’s military and technological capability, cut the country from the most developed global markets, deprive the Kremlin from the revenues it is financing the war with, and impose ever higher costs on Russia’s economy. In this respect, sanctions contribute to fulfilling the EU’s key objective, which is to continue to work for a just and lasting peace, not another frozen conflict. Their effects grow over time as the sanctions erode Russia’s industrial and tech base. The EU also continues to ensure that its sanctions do not impact energy and agrifood exports from Russia to third countries. As guardian of the EU Treaties, the European Commission monitors the enforcement of EU sanctions by EU Member States.

Anomalous, growing trade figures for some specific products/countries are hard evidence that Russia is actively attempting to circumvent sanctions. This calls for us to redouble our efforts in tackling circumvention and to ask our neighbours for even closer cooperation. EU Sanctions Envoy David O’Sullivan continues his outreach to key third countries to combat circumvention. The first tangible results are already visible. Systems are being put in place in some countries for monitoring, controlling, and blocking re-exports. Working with like-minded partners, we have also agreed a list of Common High Priority sanctioned goods to which businesses should apply particular due diligence and which third countries must not re-export to Russia. In addition, within the EU, we have also drawn up a list of sanctioned goods that are economically critical and on which businesses and third countries should be particularly vigilant.