EU Approves 10th Round of Sanctions Targeting Russia

The European Union (EU) approved its tenth package of sanctions against Russia on February 24, 2023. This package includes tighter export restrictions on dual-use goods and measures against entities supporting the war, spreading propaganda, or delivering drones used by Russia.

The package contains several elements, including the addition of about 121 individuals and entities to the sanction list. This list includes Russian decision-makers, senior government officials, and military leaders complicit in the war against Ukraine, as well as proxy authorities installed by Russia in the occupied territories in Ukraine, among others. The package also targets key figures involved in the kidnapping of Ukrainian children to Russia, as well as organisations and individuals polluting the public space with disinformation.

New export restrictions have been introduced on sensitive dual-use and advanced technologies that contribute to Russia’s military capabilities and technological enhancement. This includes additional electronic components used in Russian weapons systems, as well as bans on specific rare earths and thermal cameras with military applications. The package imposes additional export bans on goods that can easily be redirected to support the Russian war effort, such as vehicles, construction goods, goods critical for the functioning and enhancement of Russian industrial capacity, complete industrial plants, and goods used in the aviation industry.

The package also imposes import bans on Russian high-revenue goods, such as bitumen and related materials like asphalt, and synthetic rubber and carbon blacks. Additionally, three Russian banks have been added to the list of entities subject to the asset freeze and the prohibition to make funds and economic resources available.

The package includes enforcement and anti-circumvention measures, such as new reporting obligations on Russian Central Bank assets and reporting obligations on frozen assets. Private flights between the EU and Russia should be notified in advance, and there is a prohibition on transit of dual-use goods and firearms via the territory of Russia to third countries.

The package also adds two additional Russian media outlets to the media ban and includes technical amendments to allow the provision of pilot services necessary for maritime safety and to define the term “import” to avoid goods being “stranded” in long customs procedures.

Overall, the package covers EU exports worth EUR 11.4 billion and comes on top of the EUR 32.5 billion worth of exports already sanctioned in the previous packages. The EU has sanctioned almost close to half (49%) of its 2021 exports to Russia. The EU sanctions envoy is reaching out to third countries to ensure strict implementation of sanctions and prevent circumvention, and the first Sanctions Coordinators Forum took place in Brussels to strengthen enforcement efforts.