Highlights of additional measures on Russia and Belarus announced by U.S, EU, and Australia

March 9, 2022

United States additional measures

On 08 March, The U.S President has issued an Executive Order that bans the import of Russian origin crude oil, petroleum, petroleum fuels, oils, distilled products, natural gas, coal, and coal products into the U.S. It also prohibits:

  • New investment in the energy sector in the Russian Federation by U.S persons
  • Approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a U.S person, of transactions related to the above products.

Simultaneously, the U.S has issued a General License that permits imports covered by written contracts or written agreements entered prior to March 8, 2022 till April 22, 2022.

United States sanctions on Belarusian entities

  • On 24 February, the U.S announced sanctions on 24 Belarusian individuals and entities in response to Belarus’s facilitation and support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This includes Sanctions on two of the largest Belarusian banks, namely, Belinvestbank and Bank Dabrabyt. A significant portion of the Belarusian financial sector is now subject to U.S. sanctions as Russia-related sanctions had already imposed restrictions on three other systemically important Belarusian financial institutions. 
  • OFAC has also targeted Belarusian defence and related material sectors of the Belarus economy by announcing sanctions against the Minsk Wheeled Tractor Plant (MZKT), an important part of the Belarusian military-industrial complex that sells its products globally including vehicle chassis that are exported to Iran and Russia. The EU and the UK had sanctioned MZKT in December 2020. Sanctions have also been announced on State Authority for Military Industry of the Republic of Belarus (SAMI), the central Belarusian government agency that oversees the creation and coordination of Belarusian defence products; State Owned Foreign Trade Unitary Enterprise Belspetsvneshtechnika (BSVT) that specializes in the export of high-tech products and military technologies; OJSC KB Radar-Managing Company Holding Radar System; JSC 558 Aircraft Repair Plant; Public Joint Stock Company Integral (Integral), an enterprise that produces semiconductors for military end-users; among others.

U.S additional measures on Russian entities

  • On 25 February, the U.S imposed sanctions on President Vladimir Putin and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov, as well as other members of Russia’s Security Council. These include sanctions on Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov.
  • On 28 February, the U.S prohibited United States persons from engaging in transactions with the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. This action aims to immobilise assets of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation held in the United States or by U.S. persons, wherever they may be located. In addition, OFAC also designated the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), its management company, and one of the managing company’s subsidiaries.  Blocking actions on these entities terminates routes through which Russia can access to the U.S. financial system.

EU additional measures

  • On 25 February, the EU imposed sanctions against President Vladimir Putin and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, freezing their assets. In addition, restrictive measures have also been imposed on the members of the National Security Council of the Russian Federation and on the remaining members of the Russian State Duma who supported Russia’s recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk republics.
  • On 28 February, the EU announced a ban on transactions with the Russian Central Bank, € 500 million support package to finance equipment and supplies to the Ukrainian armed forces, a ban on the overflight of EU airspace and on access to EU airports by Russian carriers, and sanctions on an additional 26 persons and one state entity.
  • On 2 March, the EU excluded seven Russian Banks from the SWIFT messaging system thereby disconnecting them from the international financial system and harmed their ability to operate globally. The seven banks are Bank Otkritie, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank, Rossiya Bank, Sovcombank, Vnesheconombank (VEB), and VTB Bank. The EU has also introduced a ban on investing, participating or otherwise contributing to future projects co-financed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund; and selling, supplying, transferring or exporting euro banknotes to Russia or to any natural or legal person or entity in Russia.
  • On 2 March, the EU imposed sanctions on Russian state-owned broadcasting outlets Russia Today and Sputnik suspending their broadcasting activities in the EU.
  • Additionally, European Council also imposed sanctions on 22 high ranked members of Belarusian military personnel in view of their role in the decision making and strategic planning processes that led to the Belarusian involvement in the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Now EU sanctions apply to a total of 702 individuals and 53 entities, include an asset freeze and a prohibition from making fundsavailable to the listed individuals and entities. In addition, a travel ban applicable to the listed persons prevents these from entering or transiting through EU territory.

Australia additional measures

  • On 28 February, targeted financial sanctions and travel bans came into effect on President Vladmir Putin and remaining permanent members of Russia’s Security Council; namely, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and Internal Affairs Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev.
  • Australia also sanctioned 13 Belarusian individuals and entities, including Belarusian Minister of Defence Viktor Khrenin for his role in assisting Russia to launch attacks from Belarus.
  • Complimentary steps to support the SWIFT ban on Russian banks.

Disclaimer: This communication is provided by CATTS BV for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute the rendering of professional advice, consulting services or of legal counsel. The content of this communication represents the opinion of the author(s) based on a current state of knowledge at the time of publication, and is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. While the authors endeavour to ensure that the contents of each article presented in this forum represent the facts known as of the date of publication, we make no claim of accuracy nor will we update articles for subsequent changes or modifications to the law and regulations, or to reflect judicial and administrative interpretations thereof. This communication is not intended to, nor shall it be construed to, represent an official position of CATTS BV. We do not assume legal liability for the accuracy, completeness or validity of the information contained herein. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of their particular situation. 

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