Export Controls: EU Sanctions against Russia



Since March 2014, the EU has progressively imposed restrictive measures against Russia. The measures were adopted in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the deliberate destabilisation of Ukraine


The EU imposes different types of restrictive measures:

  • diplomatic measures

  • individual restrictive measures (asset freeze and travel restrictions). At the time of writing, 170 people and 44 entities are subject to an asset freeze and a travel ban because their actions undermining Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.  The measures were introduced in March 2014. They were last extended in September 2019 until 15 March 2020.

  • restrictions on economic relations with Crimea and Sevastopol. The EU Council adopted restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. The measures apply to EU persons and EU based companies. They are limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol. These measures include amongst others import ban on goods from Crimea and Sevastopol and an export ban for certain goods and technologies (see below). On 20 June 2019, the Council extended these measures until 23 June 2020.

  • economic sanctions. In July and September 2014, the EU imposed economic sanctions targeting exchanges with Russia in specific economic sectors. These restrictive measures limit access to EU primary and secondary capital markets for certain Russian banks and companies, impose an export and import ban on trade in arms, establish an export ban for dual-use goods for military use or military end-users in Russia, curtail Russian access to certain sensitive technologies and services that can be used for oil production and exploration and offer restrictions on economic cooperation

On 19 December 2019, the EU Council prolonged the economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy until 31 July 2020.


Overview of the economic sanctions in place

The measures target the financial, energy and defence sectors, and the area of dual-use goods. They were originally introduced on 31 July 2014 for one year in response to Russia's actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine and strengthened in September 2014.. The economic sanctions include:

  • limiting access to EU primary and secondary capital markets for 5 major Russian majority state-owned financial institutions and their majority-owned subsidiaries established outside of the EU, as well as three major Russian energy and three defence companies;

  • imposing an export and import ban on trade in arms;

  • establishing an export ban for dual-use goods for military use or military end-users in Russia;

  • curtailing Russian access to certain sensitive technologies and services that can be used for oil production and exploration.

Minsk Agreement

The duration of the sanctions was linked by the European Council on 19 March 2015, to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements, which was foreseen to take place by 31 December 2015. Since this did not happen, the sanctions have remained in place.


Legislation