On February 23rd, 2022, the European Union approved a first set of restrictive measures against the Russian Federation
in response to the recognition by the latter of the sovereignty and independence of the self-declared “People’s Republics” of Donetsk and Lugansk:
— EU Regulation no. 2022/260
by which the list of persons, entities, and bodies subject to the restrictive measures imposed by the EU Regulation no. 269/2014 has been extended.
Among the subjects included in the 2014 list, there are Russian institutional and military figures who were involved in the Russian propaganda and collaborated in the occupation of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
— EU Regulation no. 2022/261
by which the members of the Russian Federation’s Duma have also been included in the above-mentioned list.
— EU Regulation no. 2022/262
by which the restrictive measures of financial nature, previously imposed by the EU Regulation no. 833/2014, have been extended in order to limit Russian Federation’s access to financing.
Thus, it is now prohibited to directly or indirectly purchase, sell, provide investment services or assistance in the issuance of, or to otherwise deal with transferable securities and money-market instruments issued after March 9th, 2022 by Russia and its government, or the Central Bank of Russia; or any entity acting on their behalf.
Also, the issuance (direct or indirect) of new loans or credit facilities in favor of any of the above-mentioned entities has been prohibited as well.
— EU Regulation no. 2022/263
by which new restrictive measures aimed at limiting the trade and financial exchanges with the Lugansk and Donetsk areas have been introduced; it is now forbidden to import to said areas or export therefrom certain types of goods and technologies.
The provision of financing or financial assistance, insurance and reinsurance related to the importation of goods from those territories, investments in the real estate market by stakes, whether by acquiring any new, or by extending any existing participation in ownership, are also prohibited; it is also forbidden to grant or be part of any arrangement to grant any loan or credit; to create any joint venture in the specified territories or with an entity based in the specified territories; as well as to provide investment services directly related to said activities.
The industries affected by the export ban (under any form), towards and/or for the use in the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk include transportation, telecommunications, energy and the prospecting, exploration and production of oil, gas and mineral resources, as well as services related to tourism activities; it is worth noticing that the ban is not limited exclusively to the goods and technologies pertaining to those industries, but is also extended to the assistance and services connected thereto (including the technical assistance, brokering services, financing or financial assistance).
On February 25th, 2022, the European Union approved a second set of restrictive measures against the Russian Federation aimed at preventing the latter’s access to strategic goods and technologies (including so-called dual-use goods or goods intended for military end use, goods of mainly technological nature, such as those for oil refining, microprocessors, electronic components, computers, telecommunications systems, naval, aerospace and aviation equipment, etc.), as well as access to financial markets and complementary services (technical assistance, brokering services, financing and financial assistance, etc.).
EU Regulation no. 2022/328 provides for certain exemptions for contracts concluded before February 26th, 2022 and for the urgent prevention or mitigation of events that could have serious and significant consequences for the health and safety of people or the environment.
Among the measures of a financial nature provided for by the Regulation there are the prohibition of public financing or public financial assistance for investments in Russia or for trade with Russia and the prohibition of purchase and sale and provision of investment services or assistance in the issuance of or any other trading in transferable securities and money-market instruments in favor of state-owned or publicly controlled Russian credit institutions, as well as to entities related with the same, even if not based in Russia; it is also forbidden the purchase and sale of and the provision of investment services or assistance in the issuance of or any other trading in securities and instruments issued by certain credit institutions and legal entities listed in Annex XII and XIII of the Regulation, or by companies and entities established in Russia which are State-owned or under public control and whose revenues are mainly derived from the sale or transportation of petroleum products or which are mainly engaged in the design, production, sale or export of military materials or services.
Also, deposits by Russian citizens and residents or entities or bodies established in Russia in amounts exceeding € 100,000 are prohibited as well. It is also forbidden to sell to the same subjects euro-denominated securities that are issued after April 12th, 2022. Those persons who are citizens or holders of residence permits of a member State are exempted from the above restrictive measure.
Furthermore, with the EU Regulation no. 2022/332, the list of persons targeted by the restrictive measures contained in the EU Regulation no. 269/2014 was further supplemented, by including for the first time the President of the Russian Federation himself, Vladimir Putin, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, and the members of the Duma and the Russian Security Council, who saw all funds and economic resources directly or indirectly attributable to them frozen.
The European Council also approved a partial suspension of the existing visa facilitation agreement with the Russian Federation.
Head of the East European Desk