EU updates Russian sanctions after MH17 and Ukraine unrest

8 August 2014

AN update to trade sanctions against Russia after the shooting down of flight MH17 and the continuing unrest in Ukraine have been issued by the EU.

The updates reconfirm an arms embargo applying to all items on the UK Military List as well as providing technical help, financing or assistance finance. The embargo also bans buying, importing or transporting military goods from Russia.

Also precluded is supplying dual-use items which are, or may, be intended for military end-use or for a military end-user in Russia. The ban does not apply to items intended for civil end-use and civil end-users. Export licence applications for items intended for purely civil end-use will continue to be assessed on a case-by-case basis in the usual way.

Under the updated sanctions, which took affect from August 1, an export licence will be needed for exporting certain energy-related equipment and technology to Russia , or elsewhere if the equipment or technology is destined for use in Russia. The goods and technologies affected are listed in Annex II to Council Regulation 833/2014.

The Department for Business Innovation & Skills notice says: “A licence will not be granted if there are reasonable grounds to determine that the export is for projects pertaining to deep water oil exploration and production, Arctic oil exploration and production, or shale oil projects in Russia.”

The latest sanctions allow EU member states to authorise transactions which relate to meeting an obligation arising from a contract or agreement concluded before 1 August 2014.

The Department for Business Innovation & Skills notice adds: “Licence applicants wishing to rely on these exemptions must provide a copy of the relevant contract or agreement in support of their licence application. The existence of a relevant contract does not guarantee that a licence will be granted. Licence applications for military and dual-use items not prohibited by the new sanctions will continue to be assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria in the usual way.

“The ECO is currently reviewing all extant export and trade control licences for Russia in light of the new EU sanctions. Any licence holders affected by these new measures will be contacted directly. We will provide further information in the next few days.”

There are also financial sanctions against Russia; further information is available from HM Treasury. The notice also recommends exporters to read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s new Overseas Business Risk – Russia page on GOV.UK.

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