Restrictive measures taken by the EU against Russia: part one

The Russian Federation’s decision to recognise the Donetsk and Luhansk “oblasts” as independent republics of Ukraine, and the subsequent invasion of Ukraine by Russian armed forces with the support of Belarus, has generated widespread rejection in Western countries. In addition to administrative measures and statements of condemnation from many different quarters, non-governmental bodies such as UEFA, FIFA, IIHF, IHF, Euroleague Basketball and many others have made agreements to exclude Russian and Belarusian entities from their respective activities.

For the time being, the measures adopted by various states and international organisations are limited to the imposition of sanctions and restrictions, mainly of an economic nature, aimed at individuals and entities close to Russian and Belarusian circles of power. In the case of the European Union, these measures have taken the form of a broad package of provisions published in the Official Journal of the European Union as of 23February 2022, extending the existing restrictions agreed in 2014 on the occasion of the Russian annexation of Crimea. A number of additional new measures are also adopted.

The scope and, above all, the concrete effects of these measures are still difficult to gauge. Developments will determine whether the package of measures adopted so far will be maintained or whether the EU institutions decide to extend it, as has already been announced. In the following lines, we will try to summarise the main issues from the point of view of their actual impact on the functioning and operations of EU citizens. It will, however, be necessary to keep a constant watch on the updates and possible new measures that will be adopted.

Given the variety and extent of the sanctions imposed by the Community authorities, it is necessary to divide this summary into separate parts in order to facilitate the reading and understanding of the measures. In this first part we will deal with the general aspects of the restrictions imposed, such as their territorial and personal scope, the information and liability obligations imposed on addressees and the sanctioning regime in case of non-compliance.

Download our information note