EU Renews its Target Sanctions against Russia

Cartoon is drawn by Nath (1970), who is an Indian senior cartoonist working for Indian National Herald, Khaleej Times of U.A.E.

On 13 March 2017, the EU Council prolonged the restrictive measures over actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine for a further six months, until 15 September 2017. The measures consist of asset freezes and a travel bans. 

In it’s assessment, the Council stated that the current situation did not justify a change in the EU sanctions regime. The list was reviewed and the Council removed two deceased persons from the list of persons and entities subject to these restrictive measures, which now apply to 150 persons and 37 entities. Identifying information and statement of reasons for listing related to these persons and entities were updated as necessary. 

See Implementing Regulation 2017/437 implementing Regulation 269/2014 and Decision 2017/445 amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP.

The legal acts are available in the EU Official Journal of 14 March 2017. They were adopted by written procedure. These restrictive measures were introduced in March 2014 and were last extended in September 2016. Several EU measures are in place in response to the crisis in Ukraine, which also include:

  • economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy, currently in place until 31 July 2017;
  • restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, currently in place until 23 June 2017.

Summary of EU Restrictive Measures against Russia

EU sanctions against Russia over Ukraine crisis 

Merged EU and Ukrainian flags © EU

In response to the ongoing crisis in the Crimea and the EU’s opinion that the Russian Federation has deliberately destabilized a neighboring sovereign country, the EU has imposed the following restrictive measures against the Russian Federation:


The European Union is focusing on de-escalating the crisis in Ukraine and on assisting Ukraine in ensuring a stable, prosperous and democratic future for all its citizens. The EU has been unwavering in its support for the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. It sees the full implementation of the Minsk agreements as the basis for a sustainable political solution to the conflict in the country’s east. Since spring 2014, the EU has been stepping up its support to economic and political reforms in Ukraine.

In March 2014, the European Council agreed the first diplomatic measures in response to Russian actions in Ukraine. EU leaders also set out a second stage of further measures in the absence of de-escalatory steps and additional far-reaching consequences for EU-Russia relations in case of further destabilization of the situation in Ukraine.

The European Union has strongly condemned Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and does not recognize it. In the absence of de-escalatory steps by the Russian Federation, on 17 March 2014 the EU imposed the first travel bans and asset freezes against persons involved in actions against Ukraine’s territorial integrity. 

In view of Russia’s actions destabilizing the situation in eastern Ukraine, the EU imposed economic sanctions in July 2014 and reinforced them in September 2014. In March 2015, the European Council linked the duration of those economic restrictions to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements.

The EU remains ready to reverse its decisions and reengage with Russia when it starts contributing actively and without ambiguities to finding a solution to the Ukrainian crisis.

Diplomatic measures

  • Instead of the G8 summit in Sochi, a G7 meeting was held in Brussels on 4-5 June 2014. EU Member States supported the suspension of negotiations over Russia’s joining the OECD and the International Energy Agency.
  • The EU-Russia summit was cancelled and EU Member States decided not to hold regular bilateral summits. Bilateral talks with Russia on visa matters as well as on the New Agreement between the EU and Russia were suspended.

Restrictive measures (asset freezes and visa bans)

Asset freezes and visa bans apply to 150 persons while 37 entities are subject to a freeze of their assets in the EU. This includes persons and entities responsible for action against Ukraine’s territorial integrity, persons providing support to or benefiting Russian decision-makers and 13 entities in Crimea and Sevastopol that were confiscated or that have benefited from a transfer of ownership contrary to Ukrainian law.

Factsheet on EU restrictive measures

List of persons and entities subject to sanctions

Restrictions for Crimea and Sevastopol

As part of the EU’s non-recognition policy of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, the EU has imposed substantial restrictions on economic exchanges with the territory. These include:

  • A ban on imports of goods originating in Crimea or Sevastopol unless they have Ukrainian certificates;
  • A prohibition to invest in Crimea. Europeans and EU-based companies can no longer buy real estate or entities in Crimea, finance Crimean companies or supply related services. In addition, they may not invest in infrastructure projects in six sectors;
  • A ban on providing tourism services in Crimea or Sevastopol. European cruise ships may not call at ports in the Crimean peninsula, except in case of emergency. This applies to all ships owned or controlled by a European or flying the flag of an EU Member State.
  • Goods and technology for the transport, telecommunications and energy sectors or the exploration of oil, gas and mineral resources may not be exported to Crimean companies or for use in Crimea;
  • Technical assistance, brokering, construction or engineering services related to infrastructure in the same sectors must not be provided.

Consolidated version of Council regulation (EU) No 692/2014 concerning restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol

Information note to EU businesses operating and/or investing in Crimea/Sevastopol 

Measures targeting sectoral cooperation and exchanges with Russia (“Economic” sanctions)

  • EU nationals and companies may no longer buy or sell new bonds, equity or similar financial instruments with a maturity exceeding 30 days, issued by:
  • five major state-owned Russian banks;
  • three major Russian energy companies;
  • three major Russian defence companies;
  • subsidiaries outside the EU of the entities above, and those acting on their behalf or at their direction.
  • Assistance in relation to the issuing of such financial instruments is also prohibited.
  • EU nationals and companies may also not provide loans with a maturity exceeding 30 days to the entities described above.
  • Embargo on the import and export of arms and related material from/to Russia, covering all items on the EU common military list, with some exceptions.
  • Prohibition on exports of dual use goods and technology for military use in Russia or to Russian military end-users, including all items in the EU list of dual use goods. Export of dual use goods to nine mixed end-users is also banned.
  • Exports of certain energy-related equipment and technology to Russia are subject to prior authorisation by competent authorities of Member States. Export licenses will be denied if products are destined for oil exploration and production in waters deeper than 150 meters or in the offshore area north of the Arctic Circle, and projects that have the potential to produce oil from resources located in shale formations by way of hydraulic fracturing.
  • The following services necessary for the above-mentioned projects may not be supplied: drilling, well testing, logging and completion services and supply of specialized floating vessels.

Guidance note on the implementation of certain provisions of Regulation (EU) No 833/2014 concerning restrictive measures

Measures concerning economic cooperation

  • On 16 July, the European Council requested the EIB to suspend the signature of new financing operations in the Russian Federation. European Union Member States will coordinate their positions within the EBRD Board of Directors with a view to also suspending financing of new operations.
  • The implementation of EU-Russia bilateral and regional cooperation programmes has been largely suspended. Projects dealing exclusively with cross-border cooperation and civil society are maintained.

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