EU toughens sanctions on Russia, Belarus

Written by on March 9, 2022 in Europe - Comments Off on EU toughens sanctions on Russia, Belarus

European Union countries agreed on March 9 to toughen sanctions on Russia and Belarus, adding 160 individuals and announcing financial sanctions regarding Belarus.

The changes create a closer alignment of EU sanctions regarding Russia and Belarus and will help to ensure even more effectively that Russian sanctions cannot be circumvented, including through Belarus, the European Commission said.

For Belarus, the measures introduce SWIFT prohibitions similar to those in the Russia regime, clarify that crypto assets fall under the scope of “transferable securities” and further expand the existing financial restrictions by mirroring the measures already in place regarding Russia sanctions.

The sanctions restrict the provision of SWIFT services to Belagroprombank, Bank Dabrabyt, and the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus, as well as their Belarusian subsidiaries.

They prohibit transactions with the Central Bank of Belarus related to the management of reserves or assets, and the provision of public financing for trade with and investment in Belarus.

They also prohibit the listing and provision of services in relation to shares of Belarus state-owned entities on EU trading venues as of April 12 2022.

The sanctions significantly limit the financial inflows from Belarus to the EU, by prohibiting the acceptance of deposits exceeding 100 000 euro from Belarusian nationals or residents, the holding of accounts of Belarusian clients by the EU central securities depositories, as well as the selling of euro-denominated securities to Belarusian clients.

They prohibit the provision of euro denominated banknotes to Belarus.

For Russia, the amendment introduces new restrictions on the export of maritime navigation and radio communication technology, adds Russian Maritime Register of Shipping to the list of state-owned enterprises subject to financing limitations and introduces a prior information sharing provision for exports of maritime safety equipment.

In addition, it also extends the exemption relating to the acceptance of deposits exceeding 100 000 euro in EU banks to Swiss and EEA nationals.

The statement said that the EU confirmed the common understanding that loans and credit can be provided by any means, including crypto assets, as well as further clarified the notion of “transferable securities”, so as to clearly include crypto-assets, and thus ensure the proper implementation of the restrictions in place.

The 160 individuals added to the sanctions list include 14 oligarchs and prominent businesspeople involved in key economic sectors providing a substantial source of revenue to the Russian Federation – notably in the metallurgical, agriculture, pharmaceutical, telecom and digital industries -, as well as their family members.

The list includes 146 members of the Russian Federation Council, who ratified the government decisions of the ‘Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the Russian Federation and the Donetsk People’s Republic’ and the ‘Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the Russian Federation and the Luhansk People’s Republic’.

Altogether, EU restrictive measures now apply to a total of 862 individuals and 53 entities, the European Commission said.

(Photo: Sébastien Bertrand)

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