FURTHER DETAILS OF NEW EU SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA

Further details have been published about the EU’s new package of sanctions against Russia (as we reported yesterday).  The EU has said that these restrictions will now be formally adopted by the Council through a written procedure and will apply from the day following their publication in the EU Official Journal, which is scheduled for late on 31 July (tomorrow).

The Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) of the Council of the European Union has said that the new sanctions consist of the following measures, which will apply to new contracts:

New restrictions

1) A prohibition on EU nationals and companies buying or selling bonds, equity, or similar financial instruments with a maturity exceeding 90 days, issued by major state-owned Russian banks, development banks, their subsidiaries and those acting on their behalf, “in order to restrict Russia’s access to EU capital markets”.

2) Services relating to the issuing of such financial instruments, e.g. brokering, are also prohibited.

3) An embargo on the import and export of arms and related material from/to Russia was agreed, which covers all items on the EU common military list.

4) A prohibition on exports of dual use goods and technology for military use in Russia or to Russian military end-users. All items in the EU list of dual use goods are included (see latest list in annex to regulation 428/2009).

5) Exports of certain energy-related equipment and technology to Russia will be subject to prior authorisation by competent authorities of Member States. Export licenses will be denied if products are destined for deep water oil exploration and production, arctic oil exploration or production and shale oil projects in Russia.

New designations on targeted sanctions list

8 individuals and 3 entities will be added to the list of those subject to an asset freeze and a visa ban, for “providing support to or benefiting from Russian decisions makers responsible for the destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea”. This brings the number of people and entities under EU restrictions to 95 persons and 23 entities.

New restrictions on Crimea and Sevastopol

The EU has also agreed on trade and investment restrictions for Crimea and Sevastopol, which compromise a ban on new investment in the following sectors in Crimea and Sevastopol: infrastructure projects in the transport, telecommunications and energy sectors and in relation to the exploitation of oil, gas and minerals. Key equipment for the same 6 sectors may not be exported to Crimea and Sevastopol; finance and insurance services related to such transactions must not be provided.

 

CLOSED HEARING GRANTED IN UK SANCTIONS JUDICIAL REVIEW

IMG_20140428_160555[2]An English judge has granted the Government a closed hearing in a sanctions judicial review.
5 Iranian individuals were included on the European Union’s restrictive measures relating to Iran in December 2011 on the basis of a proposal from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in the UK stating that each of them was a “senior member” of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL).  IRISL and all of these individuals (among others) won their applications to the General Court of the European Union to annul their designations; see previous blogs on the IRISL and Nabipour cases.  The 5 individuals whose listing resulted from the UK listing proposal brought judicial review proceedings challenging the Secretary of State’s decision to propose that for EU designation, claiming damages for losses suffered as a result of the listing proposal.
The Secretary of State applied for a declaration under section 6 of the Justice & Security Act 2013 for an order that the judicial review should be heard in a closed material procedure (CMP) in which the Secretary of State could rely on sensitive material that would not be shown to the claimants.  Mr Justice Bean has just granted that application, in R (Sarkandi) & Ors v Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs [2014] EWHC 2359 (Admin).  He rejected the claimants’  argument that the sensitive material was irrelevant because it could not lawfully be relied on by the Secretary of State to justify the listing proposal, that the Secretary of State had not properly considered whether an application for public interest immunity and/or “gisting” would suffice, and that the case could not fairly be tried in a closed hearing.  The Judge has given the claimants permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal.
Maya Lester appeared for the Claimants, and also for the applicants in the IRISL and Nabipour cases.

USA AGREES NEW SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA

The US, as well as the EU (see post from yesterday) has agreed a package of new sanctions against Russia.

Details have yet to be announced.  The White House statement says that “the United States is imposing new sanctions in key sectors of the Russian economy:  energy, arms, and finance.  We’re blocking the exports of specific goods and technologies to the Russian energy sector.  We’re expanding our sanctions to more Russian banks and defense companies.  And we’re formally suspending credit that encourages exports to Russia and financing for economic development projects in Russia.”

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew issued the following press release: “We have seen sanctions bring the Russian economy to a standstill through a large and broad-based deterioration of Russian financial assets; capital flight that already exceeds all of last year; and a significant increase in Russian borrowing costs. These actions are designed to demonstrate the unity of the international community and the increasing isolation of Russia. We are prepared to take additional actions if Russia does not take steps to resolve this crisis.”

EU AGREES PACKAGE OF ADDITIONAL SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA

The European Union announced today that it has agreed “a package of significant additional restrictive measures targeting sectoral cooperation and exchanges with the Russian Federation”.

Details will be published tomorrow.  Today’s statement says that “These decisions will limit access to EU capital markets for Russian State-owned financial institutions, impose an embargo on trade in arms, establish an export ban for dual use goods for military end users, and curtail Russian access to sensitive technologies particularly in the field of the oil sector.”

JAPAN EXTENDS RUSSIAN SANCTIONS OVER UKRAINE

On 28 July 2014, Japan announced that it will impose additional sanctions against Russia over Moscow’s support for Ukrainian separatists accused of shooting down flight MH17.

The Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that assets held in Japan by individuals or groups directly involved in the annexation of Crimea or the instability in eastern Ukraine will be frozen. Japan is also due to restrict imports from Crimea and to follow a recent decision by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development by freezing funds for new projects in Russia.

Japan has previously imposed limited sanctions on Russia, including placing an entry visa ban on 23 individuals. Suga urged Russia to “exercise influence over separatist groups in Ukraine so that they will cooperate in the international probe into the Malaysia Airlines shoot-down” and said that “Japan truly hopes that the Ukrainian situation will be resolved as soon as possible through diplomatic dialogue”.

The names of those subject to sanctions are expected to be announced later this week when the measures take effect upon being formally approved by the Japanese Cabinet. The forthcoming sanctions by Japan are in line with measures imposed by the EU to date in view of the crisis.

EU EXPANDS SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA

As we foreshadowed on Wednesday, the European Union has expanded its Ukraine related targeted sanctions which impose EU-wide asset freezes and travel bans. The EU has added 15 individuals and 18 companies to the list, which appear here.

The additions include the Federal Security Service head Alexander Bortnikov, foreign intelligence head Mikhail Fradkov and Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of the Russian security council.  The leader of Russia’s southern Chechnya republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, is also on the list.

In a statement, the Russian foreign ministry said the new sanctions showed that the EU was taking “a complete turn away from joint work with Russia on international and regional security, including the fight against the spread of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, organised crime and other challenges” and that “we believe these decisions will be greeted enthusiastically by international terrorists”.

The new measures are Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 810/2014 amending Council Regulation (EU) No 269/2014, Decision 2014/499/CFSP, and Regulation (EU) No 811/2014 amending Regulation (EU) No 269/2014, all of 25 July 2014.

Whereas previously the EU listed people and companies responsible for actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sover­eignty and independence of Ukraine (and their associates), the new criteria are now people and companies:

1) Responsible for, actively supporting or implementing, actions or policies which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine (the EU has listed 9 new entities under this heading), or stability or security in Ukraine, or which obstruct the work of international organisations in Ukraine, and natural or legal persons, entities or bodies associated with them;

2) Legal persons, entities or bodies supporting, materially or financially, actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine;

3) Legal persons, entities or bodies supporting, materially or financially, actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine;

4) Legal persons, entities or bodies in Crimea or Sevastopol whose ownership has been transferred contrary to Ukrainian law (this accounts for 9 of the entities now added), or legal persons, entities or bodies which have benefited from such a transfer;

5)  Natural or legal persons, entities or bodies actively supporting, materially or financially, or benefiting from, Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea or the destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine.

The EU also published a Notice to listed people and companies informing them that they may make observations to the Council of the EU on their designations by 22 August 2014, and that “any observations received will be taken into account for the purpose of the Council’s periodic review”.  The Notice also informs them that they may challenge their listing in the General Court of the EU (several cases of EU court challenges of that kind are summarised on this blog).  All the EU measures relating to Ukraine / Russia are on the ‘sanctions in force’ section of this blog.

 

CANADA ANNOUNCES SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA AND UKRAINE

On 24 July 2014, Canada announced new sanctions in view of the situation in Ukraine. The new measures target individual Moscow-backed separatists in Ukraine and “include sanctions against a broad range of entities from Russia’s arms industry, as well as from its financial and energy sectors”, according to the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Harper said that Canada’s “unequivocal aim is to further increase economic and political pressure on the Putin regime”. In Ukraine sanctions have been imposed on the armed separatist groups the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic. Harper accused the groups of having “engaged in egregious acts against the armed forces of Ukraine, international monitors deployed to the area, and the civilian population”. An additional eight Ukrainian individuals linked to these two groups are also now subject to sanctions (the full list can be found here).

A number of companies operating in Russia have also been targeted. Almaz-Antey, Federal State Unitary Enterprise State Research and Production Enterprise Bazalt, JSC Concern Sozvezdie, JSC MIC NPO Mashinostroyenia, Kalashnikov Concern, KBP Instrument Design Bureau, Radio-Electronic Technologies, Gazprombank OAO, VEB, and OAO Novatek are now subject to sanctions.

The new measures relating to these Russian companies introduce a prohibition on dealings with entities linked to Russia’s arms industry and impose restrictions on the issuance of new debt and equity financing for the sanctioned energy and financial entities (full details can be found here). Canada’s decision to impose fresh sanctions against Russia is the first concrete international sanctions response to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on 17 July, and is expected to be followed by sanctions measures imposed by the EU on Friday.

 

CLAIMS BRITAIN CONTINUES TO SUPPLY ARMS TO RUSSIA DESPITE EMBARGO

On 23 July 2014, a cross-party group of British MPs released a report claiming that 251 licences to sell British weapons to Russia are still in place. The announcement followed the Prime Minister David Cameron’s statement to the House of Commons on 21 July, in which he emphasised that the UK has imposed an absolute arms embargo against Russia.

MPs warned that export licences for the sale of arms remained in place despite fears that Moscow is arming anti-government rebels in Ukraine. Cameron said on 24 July that the UK has not sold arms to Russia’s armed forces since March, but promised to “look very carefully at all outstanding licences and make sure that’s the case”.

In March, then Foreign Secretary William Hague told MPs: “The UK will now, with immediate effect, suspend all extant licences and application processing for licences for direct export to Russia for military and dual-use items destined for units of the Russian armed forces or other state agencies which could be or are being deployed against Ukraine”. While this month’s report by MPs shows that 31 UK licences have been halted or suspended, it is claimed that a total of 251 licences worth at least £132 million are still in force.

The Prime Minister has previously criticised other EU countries’ arms deals with Moscow, and told the House of Commons on 21 July that “Future military sales from any country in Europe should not be going ahead. We have already stopped them from Britain”. Sir John Stanley, the Chairman of the House of Commons Arms Control Committee, said however that he had seen evidence that appeared to contradict the Prime Minister’s claim. Sir John Stanley wrote formally to David Cameron earlier this week asking for clarification of the government’s arms policy towards Russia and the exact number of licenses that remain in place.