EU release thirteenth sanctions packages on Russia

EU release thirteenth sanctions packages on Russia
EU passes thirteenth package of sanctions / bne IntelliNews
By bne IntelliNews February 26, 2024

The EU has finally approved the thirteenth package of sanctions on the Russia on February 23, in what observers say are the weakest sanctions year. In parallel, the US also released new sanctions on Russia the same weekend. The US Treasury Department published a list targeting individuals and entities from Russia and other countries.

“This package focuses on further limiting Russia's access to military technologies, such as for drones, and on listing additional companies and individuals involved in Russia's war effort. With this new package the number of individual listings has reached over 2000, dealing a huge blow to those who enable Russia's illegal war against Ukraine,” the EU said on its website.

“Yet, there is no room for complacency. Full implementation of the sanctions is crucial, to deny Moscow the revenue, goods and technology it needs to feed its war. The Commission will continue supporting Member States to ensure effective enforcement of the measures, as well as working closely with third countries to tackle circumvention attempts,” the EU added.

The new sanctions list includes 106 individuals and 88 legal entities, but no fresh measures against specific economic sectors. The persons included in the list are related to the military and defence sectors and are involved in supplying weapons from China to the Russian Federation.

The European Union also introduced personal restrictions against the North Korean Minister of Defense Kang Sun-nam. The sanctions imposed for the alleged supply of ballistic missiles and other weapons to the Russian side include a visa ban and an asset freeze for minister.

The main points of the sanctions include:

  • Targeting Russia's military and defence sector: the new listings include more than 140 companies and individuals from the Russian military-industrial complex, which among other things manufacture missiles, drones, anti-aircraft missile system, military vehicles, high-tech components for weapons, and other military equipment.
  • Sending a strong signal against Russia's war effort partners: the new listings target 10 Russian companies and individuals involved in the shipping of Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) armaments to Russia. They also target the Defence Minister of the DPRK, as well as several Belarusian companies and individuals providing support to the Russian armed forces.
  • Fighting circumvention: the new listings include a Russian logistics company and its director involved in parallel imports of prohibited goods to Russia, and a third Russian actor involved in another procurement scheme.
  • Strengthening EU action against Russia's temporary occupation and illegal annexation of areas of Ukraine: the new listings include six judges and 10 officials in the occupied territories of Ukraine.
  • Sanctioning violations of children rights: The new listings also include 15 individuals and 2 entities involved in the forced transfer and in the deportation and the military indoctrination of Ukrainian children, including in Belarus.

The sanctions also included measures to stop Russia from acquiring Western sensitive technologies for Russian military. 

“Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, have been central to Russia's war against Ukraine. This package thus specifically lists companies procuring Russia with key drone components and introduces some sectoral sanctions to close loopholes and make drone warfare more complicated,” the EU said.

To enforce the trade measures the thirteenth package adds 27 Russian and third country companies to the list of entities associated to Russia's military-industrial complex.

“The EU will impose export restrictions towards these companies regarding dual-use goods and technology, as well as goods and technology which might contribute to the technological enhancement of Russia's defence and security sector,” the EU said.

The package adds:

  • 17 Russian companies which are involved in the development, production and supply of electronic components, particularly used in connection with drone production.
  • Four companies registered in China and one each registered in Kazakhstan, India, Serbia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Türkiye, also trading in the area of electronic components, including of EU-origin.

In addition, the package expands the list of advanced technology items that may contribute to Russia's military and technological enhancement or to the development of its defence and security sector including: components used for the development and production of drones, such as electric transformers, static converters and inductors found inter alia in drones, as well as aluminium capacitors, which have military applications, such as in missiles and drones and in communication systems for aircrafts and vessels.

"We must keep degrading Putin's war machine," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on X. "We are also further cutting Russia’s access to drones."

Sanctions were imposed against Singaporean company Deflog Technologies and Thai IT Hardware. The main activities of Deflog Technologies include wholesale trade in optical equipment and consumables. Thai IT Hardware operates in the information technology sector.

The EU also imposed export restrictions on Indian microelectronics company Si2 Microsystems and private Sri Lankan freight forwarding firm Euro Asia Cargo, reports TASS. 

According to Si2 Microsystems' website, its activities include designing and assembling integrated circuits for the commercial, military and space sectors. Euro Asia Cargo's areas of activity include freight forwarding, tourism operations, and airline representation.

The EU imposed export restrictions on the Elem Group from Kazakhstan, which, according to Brussels, is participating in Russian measures to overcome the sanctions blockade, according to the resolution of the Council of the European Union, published in the Official Journal of the EU. Elem Group is engaged in the trade of electronic and telecommunication equipment and spare parts.  

US sanctions 

The US sanctions were very similar to the EU package. The US blacklist consists of 554 targets, including 57 individuals and 485 legal entities, as well as 12 courts. In addition to Russian entities, the sanctions affect companies from such countries as Kyrgyzstan, China, the UAE, Serbia, Turkey, Germany and more. The Canadian authorities also imposed new restrictions against Moscow.

A new anti-Russian sanctions list unveiled by the US on February 23 became the most extensive ever, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a joint press conference with Argentina’s Foreign Minister Diana Mondino.
"That is the largest number of designations that we’ve yet taken in a single Russia-related action," he said. Blinken reiterated that the sanctions and export restrictions are being introduced against more than 500 private individuals and legal entities as a response, among other things, to Russia launching its special military operation in Ukraine.

The Kremlin largely dismissed the new sanctions as unimpactful.

"Nothing game changing has been announced. And it is hardly possible for those who impose those sanctions to think of anything game changing without causing apparent damage to their own economies. Indirectly this damage [is being caused], you know, as the boomerang effect works. The European economy suffers seriously first of all due to sanctions that have been imposed against Russia, thousands of sanctions. The interests of American companies suffer as well," Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov, reports TASS.

Canada’s authorities  have also placed 10 private individuals and 153 legal entities on the anti-Russian sanctions list, according to a statement by Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly.

"The Honourable Melanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that Canada is imposing additional sanctions on 10 individuals and 153 entities under the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations. Canada is announcing these sanctions in coordination with the United Kingdom and the United States," the document said.