MUST WATCH: 90 Powerful Seconds to Explain the EU's Sanctions Against Russia

Can you summarize the EU-Russia Sanctions in 90 Seconds? Sure I can! The video every export control professional simply has to see.


SPECIAL REPORT: What are EU sanctions and why do they matter?


The EU imposes restrictive measures against Russia and keeps extending them. They were originally introduced in 2014 in view of Russia’s destabilizing actions against Ukraine, and target the financial, energy and defence sectors, as well as the area of dual‑use goods.

The sanctions limit access to EU primary and secondary capital markets for certain Russian banks and companies and prohibit forms of financial assistance and brokering towards Russian financial institutions.

The measures also prohibit the direct or indirect import, export or transfer of all defence-related material and establish a ban for dual-use goods which may have military use or be used by military end-users in Russia.

The sanctions further curtail Russian access to certain sensitive technologies that can be used in the Russian energy sector, for instance in oil production and exploration.

The illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation

The European Council of 20 March 2014 strongly condemned the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. EU leaders underlined that there is no place for the use of force and coercion to change borders in Europe in the 21st century. Six years on, the EU does not recognize and continues to condemn this violation of international law.

The EU has adopted a strict non-recognition policy with regard to the illegal annexation. This policy has led to substantive sanctions, set out in the annex to this Factsheet. The sanctions have been extended several times since then and are still in place (see annex).

Conflict in eastern Ukraine (including sanctions)

The EU has been strongly supporting efforts to come to a peaceful and sustainable solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

From the outset, the EU has supported Ukraine's territorial integrity, condemning the clear violations of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces. It has fully supported all initiatives aimed at bringing a lasting political solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, using all the means available.

The EU's approach has been to combine pressure through restrictive measures with diplomatic efforts and continuing dialogue.

Diplomatic restrictions against the Russian Federation were first imposed at an extraordinary meeting of EU leaders on 6 March 2014. The EU gradually increased its restrictive measures, starting on 17 March 2014 with targeted sanctions against persons responsible for actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence. In view of Russia's actions destabilising eastern Ukraine, a first package of significant economic sanctions targeting cooperation and exchanges with Russia was announced on 29 July 2014. A reinforced package of economic sanctions was announced in September 2014. Details about restrictive measures are in the annex.

At the same time, the EU participated directly in negotiating the Geneva Joint Statement of 17 April 2014. It welcomed the subsequent agreements for a ceasefire and further steps to stabilise the situation and achieve a political solution, reached in Minsk in September 2014 and in February 2015. The duration of the EU's economic sanctions against the Russian Federation is clearly linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements. As part of its efforts for a political solution, the EU has stepped up its assistance to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), conducted trilateral talks on trade and energy-related issues with Russia and supported political engagement including through discussions in the Normandy format (France; Germany; Ukraine; Russia) and the Trilateral Contact Group (OSCE; Ukraine; Russia).

The Russian presidential decree of 24 April 2019, enabling the simplified issuing of passports in certain areas of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions runs counter to the spirit and objectives of the Minsk agreements. The Commission and the EEAS have issued guidance to the Members States on how to handle visa applications of the residents of non-government controlled areas.

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Arne Mielken

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