There have been five sanction packages adopted by the European Council since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war, up until April 11th.
On February 23, the first set of sanctions was enacted, with the goal of restricting "the ability of Russian state and government to access the EU’s capital and financial markets and services … to limit the financing of escalatory and aggressive policies"
It also imposed asset freezes and travel bans on 351 Russian State Duma members and 27 high-ranking individuals and entities. Import restrictions on goods "from the non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, restrictions on trade and investments related to certain economic sectors, a prohibition to supply tourism services, and an export ban for certain goods and technologies" were also implemented.
The second set of sanctions, enacted just two days later on February 25, cut off Russian access to the world's most important capital markets even more, prohibiting "the listing and provision of services in relation to shares of Russian state-owned entities" and limiting financial inflows into the EU.
"These sanctions will target 70% of the Russian banking market, and key state-owned companies," according to the initial assessment, "They will increase Russia’s borrowing costs, raise inflation and gradually erode Russia’s industrial base ."
Individual sanctions were also included in this sanction package, including the freezing of the Russian President's and Foreign Minister's assets. Specific goods and technologies in the oil refining, aviation, and space industries were also prohibited from being sold, supplied, transferred, or exported to Russia, as well as further restrictions on dual-use goods and technology exports.
On February 28, the third set of sanctions was enacted, which "deny permission to land in, take off from or overfly [EU Member States’] territories to any aircraft operated by Russian air carriers … prohibited to make transactions with the Russian Central Bank or any legal person, entity or body acting on behalf or at the direction of the Russian Central Bank."
The Council imposed new restrictions on the 2nd of March as part of the third round of sanctions. Seven banks have been barred from using specialized financial messaging services, which are used to send and receive financial information (SWIFT). The EU has also made it illegal to invest in projects co-financed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund and to provide Russia with euro-denominated banknotes.
As Belarus became involved in the conflict, sanctions were imposed on the country on March 9th. The Council also adopted a Regulation and a Decision suspending the broadcasting activities of two state-owned media outlets, Sputnik' and RT/Russia Today, which engaged in a systematic campaign of disinformation, information manipulation, and factual distortion, as part of the same package.
The fourth sanction package, approved on March 15, expanded the list of sanctioned individuals and entities and included a complete ban on any transactions with certain Russian state-owned enterprises across all sectors, as well as a prohibition on EU credit rating agencies providing rating services to Russia and Russian companies (which should result in further loss of access to the EU's financial markets).
This sanction package also included an import ban on steel products that were subject to EU safeguard measures at the time, as well as a prohibition on EU investments in Russia's energy sector. Simultaneously, the Council gave the Commission permission to join a plurilateral statement on Russian aggression against Ukraine with the support of Belarus on behalf of the EU.
The EU confirmed its willingness to suspend concessions or other obligations relating to the Russian Federation, such as the suspension of most-favoured-nation (MFN) treatment for Russian products and services, and the suspension of Belarus' WTO membership.
Following the atrocities committed by Russian armed forces in Bucha and other parts of Ukraine, the fifth sanction package was adopted on April 8th, which added to the list of sanctioned companies and individuals (currently, EU restrictive measures apply to 1091 individuals and 80 entities).
As of August 2022, this sanction package also made it illegal to "purchase, import or transfer coal and other solid fossil fuels into the EU if they originate in Russia or are exported from Russia, as from August 2022 … to provide access to EU ports to vessels registered under the flag of Russia … [ban] any Russian and Belarusian road transport undertaking preventing them from transporting goods by road within the EU, including in transit … export bans, targeting jet fuel and other goods such as:
quantum computers and advanced semiconductors, high-end electronics, software, sensitive machinery and
transportation equipment, and
new import bans on products such as:
liquor … series of targeted economic measures intended to strengthen existing measures and close loopholes”
On April 7, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for tougher sanctions against Russia (including a full embargo on oil, coal, nuclear fuel, and gas, as well as addressing Russia's ties with Belarus), a special UN tribunal for war crimes6, and facilitating weapon deliveries to Ukraine.
The resolution also calls for Russia to be expelled from international organizations and for sanctions to be made more effective, including by fostering international cooperation.
By fLEXI tEAM