US, EU And UK Increase Pressure on Russia with Further Sanctions

Since late February 2022, the United States (U.S.), the European Union (EU) and its member states, the United Kingdom (U.K.), and many others—including Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan and Canada—have imposed sweeping new sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

This note updates and consolidates our February 28, March 22 and April 27 publications. It summarizes the most significant new sanctions coming out of the U.S., EU and U.K., as they stood at midday on August 10, 2022. In addition, it annexes a table of key individuals and entities named as being subject to the U.S., EU and U.K. sanctions. The table has been updated since the April 27 publication, to reflect some key additions to the sanctions lists.

As a reaction to these sanctions, the Russian government has announced a number of retaliatory sanctions, including foreign currency restrictions and measures targeting foreign businesses in Russia.

The landscape continues to evolve. We are tracking these developments and may provide further updates as the situation develops.

Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, named Russian persons and businesses were already subject to wide-ranging international sanctions, linked to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and other events. Since late February, increasingly intensive rounds of international sanctions have been imposed as the conflict in Ukraine has escalated.

G7 countries removed key Russian banks from using the secure financial messaging system operated by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) and imposed sanctions on the Russian Central Bank, designed to significantly restrict the bank’s access to its foreign currency reserves. The G7 have also committed to taking action to deny Russia its most-favored-nation status at the World Trade Organization and continue a campaign of pressure through targeted sanctions and additional trade restrictions of key goods and technology.

The global sanctions range from directly targeting the assets of Russian financial institutions, online media outlets linked to the Russian government disinformation campaign, corporations and individuals to extending restrictions on certain categories of transactions, investments or trade with Russia. The U.S. has banned imports of Russian-origin oil and gas into the U.S., and the EU and U.K. have announced plans to substantially reduce their imports. New trade controls on imports and exports of certain categories of goods and a comprehensive trade and investment embargo on the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (respectively, DNR and LNR) have also been implemented. Several countries have announced restrictions on the operations of Russian flights in their airspace, and many have implemented travel bans on sanctioned individuals. Many jurisdictions have also targeted Belarusian individuals and entities and/or trade with Belarus in response to Belarus’ support for the Russian campaign against Ukraine.

Key Takeaways

  • The sanctions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are multi-faceted and at times complex and far-reaching, with potential implications for any business operating in the global economy, even those with no immediate or direct ties to Russia, Belarus or Ukraine.
  • Corporates and financial institutions should conduct a risk assessment to determine if and how these sanctions may impact their operations and business relationships. Businesses and individuals with any links to Russia, Belarus or Ukraine should draw up a list of their connections with Russia or Belarus and be vigilant as new sanctions are introduced or developed.
  • Any necessary corrective action should be taken in time to meet applicable deadlines or permissible wind-down measures. Companies should review and update their compliance policies and procedures to effectively mitigate against new sanctions, AML and anti-corruption risks.
  • Legal advice should be sought in complex cases as the impact of these sanctions is unavoidably a fact-specific inquiry and will be dependent on the specific details of the transactions and circumstances in question. These sanctions as a whole contain few generally applicable rules and do not necessarily apply in the same way or to the same entities in each jurisdiction.

US Sanctions

The U.S. sanctions regime consists of a number of sanctions programs with a combination of country-wide, sectoral, targeted and secondary sanctions. The sanctions program related to Russia and Ukraine is implemented primarily by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)—along with the State Department and Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)—pursuant to Executive Orders (EOs) issued by the President and legislation passed by Congress. OFAC has laid out additional measures in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in a series of new directives and determinations with certain wind-down periods and exceptions authorized through general licenses.

The U.S. sanctions regime is binding on all U.S. persons, including all U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens regardless of their location, all persons and entities within the United States and all U.S.-incorporated entities and their foreign branches. Non-U.S. persons may also be exposed to secondary sanctions risk if they transact with individuals or entities subject to sanctions—including, if they materially assist, sponsor or provide financial, material or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, certain activities, a person whose property and interests in property are blocked. Non-U.S. persons may also expose themselves to liability if they “cause” a violation of U.S. sanctions by unlawfully introducing some U.S. nexus to a prohibited transaction. Violations of U.S. sanctions can lead to significant criminal or civil penalties.

The table annexed to this note lists key entities and individuals named as being subject to U.S. (as well as EU and U.K.) sanctions.

The new U.S. sanctions implemented in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as of August 10, 2022, include:

  • Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) designations. The U.S. administers blocking sanctions through the publication of a list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons with whom transactions are prohibited. U.S. persons are prohibited from all direct and indirect dealings with SDNs and must block (i.e., freeze) any property in their possession in which such individuals or entities have any interest.[1] Additionally, individuals on the SDN list are subject to travel restrictions. Recent U.S. designations include:
  • Major Russian financial institutions, along with certain executives and board members;
  • Defense and war-related enterprises;
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin;
  • Russian government officials, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov;
  • Members of the Russian Duma;
  • Russian business and political elites, along with certain family members;
  • Nord Stream 2, along with corporate officers;
  • Russian-backed media companies, along with several of their employees;
  • Russian darknet market and virtual currency exchanges; and
  • Individuals with links to the DNR or LNR.
  • Comprehensive Embargo on the DNR and LNR. These sanctions are similar to the 2014 sanctions imposed on the Crimea region following Russia’s incursions there and effectively prohibit nearly all U.S.-nexus trade with the DNR and LNR, along with any other regions of Ukraine that may be later added by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State (the “Covered Regions”). The sanctions under EO 14065 prohibit (1) new investment by a U.S. person in the Covered Regions, (2) the import into the U.S. of any goods, services or technology from the Covered Regions, (3) the export from the U.S. or by a U.S. person of any goods, services or technology to the Covered Regions and (4) U.S. persons from financing, facilitating or guaranteeing transactions that U.S. persons would be prohibited from engaging in directly.
  • Trade & Investment restrictions. In addition to the comprehensive trade embargo in place on the DNR and LNR, the U.S. has imposed a series of new trade restrictions and investment bans on numerous segments of the Russian economy:
  • Oil and gas. Issued on March 8, EO 14066 banned the import of Russian-origin oil, liquified natural gas and coal into the United States. In April, U.S. President Biden also signed into law the Ending Importation of Russian Oil Act, which codified the prior ban on Russian oil, gas and coal imports. OFAC has confirmed that, to the extent imports of Russian-origin oil, gas and coal outside of the U.S. do not involve a sanctioned person or otherwise prohibited transaction, non-U.S. persons would not be subject to U.S. sanctions if they continue to import these products to non-U.S. jurisdictions. BIS also extended existing export control restrictions—initially imposed in 2014 in response to the Russian annexation of Crimea—that target Russia’s access to oil and gas refinery equipment. Restrictions on the provision of goods, technology and services (with the exception of financial services) by U.S. persons in support of specified energy projects (e.g., projects run by Lukoil, Gazprom and Rosneft) have been in place since 2014;
  • High-tech goods. BIS announced new restrictions on exports from the U.S. and on foreign items using U.S. equipment, software and blueprints to Russia of high-tech goods, including semiconductors, computers, telecommunications, information security equipment, lasers and sensors;
  • Luxury goods. Issued on March 11, EO 14068 prohibits the export of U.S.-origin luxury goods, including certain spirits, tobacco products, clothing items, jewelry, vehicles and antique goods into Russia;
  • Seafood, diamonds and alcohol. Certain U.S. imports of Russian-origin seafood, non-industrial diamonds, alcohol and any other products later designated are prohibited pursuant to EO 14068;
  • U.S. banknotes. Exports from the U.S. into Russia of U.S. banknotes are prohibited pursuant to EO 14068.
  • Russian gold. On May 24, the U.S. prohibited the importation of Russian gold, the country’s largest non-energy export, pursuant to a determination under E.O. 14068. Even prior to this new determination, certain gold-related transactions designed to circumvent regulations were sanctionable under U.S. sanctions authorities.
  • Suspension of Normal Trade Relations. In addition to restrictions on specific imports and exports, in April, President Biden signed the Suspending Normal Trade Relations with Russia and Belarus Act, which denies most-favored nation tariff treatment to Russian and Belarussian products. The Act also reauthorized sanctions authorizations under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act to target human rights violations and corruption.
  • Ban on new investment and certain services. Issued on April 6, 2022, EO 14071 prohibits all “new investment” in the Russian Federation by U.S. persons, wherever located, as well as the direct or indirect provision by U.S. persons of any category of services determined by the Secretary of the Treasury.
  • Provision of accounting, trust and corporate formation and management consulting services. Issued on May 8, 2022, U.S. persons are prohibited from providing certain accounting, trust and corporate formation and management consulting services to any person located in the Russian Federation pursuant to a determination under E.O. 14071.
  • Sectoral sanctions.
  • Financial services sector. A sectoral determination pursuant to E.O. 14024 authorizes the imposition of sanctions on individuals or entities determined to be operating in the financial services sector of the Russian economy.
  • Aerospace, electronics, and marine sectors. On March 31, 2022, a determination pursuant to EO 14024 authorized the imposition of blocking sanctions on persons determined to be operating in the aerospace, electronics and marine sectors of the Russian economy.
  • Accounting, trust and corporate formation and management consulting services sectors. A sectoral determination pursuant to E.O. 14024 authorizes the imposition of sanctions on individuals and entities that operate or have operated in the accounting, trust and corporate formation services or management consulting sectors of the Russian economy.
  • Financial restrictions.
  • Russian sovereign debt restrictions. Directive 1A under EO 14024 prohibits U.S. financial institutions from dealing in the secondary market for new ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued by Russia’s Central Bank, National Wealth Fund and Ministry of Finance. While U.S. financial institutions were previously banned from participation in the primary market for new debt issued by these entities, the restrictions now apply to secondary market trading activities for bonds issued after March 1, 2022;
  • Correspondent and payable-through account restrictions. Directive 2 under EO 14024 imposes correspondent and payable-through account restrictions (CAPTA) restrictions on the Public Joint Stock Company Sberbank of Russia and its foreign financial institution subsidiaries (listed in Annex 1 to the Russia-related CAPTA Directive). These sanctions require U.S. financial institutions to close, before March 26, 2022, any correspondent and payable-through accounts and reject future transactions involving Sberbank and its subsidiaries;
  • New debt and equity restrictions. Similar to previous Directives imposing sectoral sanctions related to Ukraine, Directive 3 under EO 14024 prohibits U.S. persons from all transactions in, provisions of financing for, and other dealings in new debt of longer than 14 days maturity and new equity issued by listed entities on or after March 26, 2022. OFAC may also add additional entities under Directive 3. Newly added entities will be subject to prohibitions on new debt and equity 30 days after OFAC makes its determinations; and
  • Restrictions on transactions with Russia’s Central Bank, National Wealth Fund and Finance Ministry. Directive 4 under EO 14024 prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions involving Russia’s Central Bank, National Wealth Fund and Ministry of Finance, including any transfer of assets to or foreign exchange transaction for or on behalf of these entities. Directive 4 was implemented in accordance with the joint announcement on February 26, 2022, with the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the U.K. and Canada. The effective result is that any assets of these entities that are held in U.S. financial institutions are immediately frozen, and financial institutions outside the U.S. that hold U.S. dollars for these entities will be unable to disburse those funds.
  • Airspace restrictions. On March 1, 2022, the U.S. announced that it would block all Russian aircraft and airlines from entering U.S. airspace. The move came after Europe and Canada imposed similar restrictions.

The U.S. has also imposed sanctions on Belarus for its role in supporting the Russian invasion. BIS imposed restrictions, similar to those placed on Russia, on the exports of high-tech goods and luxury goods to Belarus. OFAC also designated several Belarusian individuals for their support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In addition to new sanctions, OFAC has issued a number of general licenses that authorize transactions otherwise prohibited by U.S. sanctions. These include wind-down periods for some restrictions and exceptions for certain categories of transactions or with certain individuals or entities. On April 19, 2022, OFAC published a fact sheet, which provides an overview of applicable authorizations and exemptions for agricultural trade, access to communications, and other support to those impacted by the war in Ukraine.

U.S. officials have underscored their commitment to enforce US sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Announced on March 2, 2022, the KleptoCapture Task Force is an interagency task force dedicated to enforcement of the U.S. measures imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including sanctions, export restrictions and economic countermeasures. Another initiative launched in March the Russian Elites, Proxies and Oligarchs (“REPO”) Task Force, is a multilateral partnership between the U.S. and its allies in Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the European Commission to target the assets of Russian oligarchs to inflict maximum pain on those close to the Putin regime. Already, the REPO Task Force has blocked more than $30 billion worth of sanctioned Russian assets in financial accounts and economic resources, immobilized about $300 billion worth of Russian Central Bank assets, seized yachts and real luxury real estate, and taken steps to restrict Russia’s access to the global financial system.

EU Sanctions

In the EU, decisions on the adoption of sanctions are taken by the Council of the European Union on the basis of proposals from the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy. The High Representative together with the European Commission seek to give effect to these decisions by submitting joint proposals for Council regulations, which are then adopted by the Council. The Commission also oversees member-state implementation of EU sanctions regimes.

In addition, member states of the EU are permitted to introduce their own sanctions regimes against third countries. Several EU sanctions have involved or been presaged by similar actions by particular EU member states, notably those concerning the prohibition of Russian aircraft or the use of airspace. The SWIFT sanctions have also been imposed via groups of EU member states and other countries acting together.

Scope of Sanctions

The territorial scope of the EU’s Russian sanctions is broad. The sanctions typically apply: (1) within the territory of the EU, including its airspace; (2) on board any aircraft or vessel under the jurisdiction of an EU member state; (3) to EU nationals, wherever they are located; (4) to any legal entity incorporated under the law of an EU member state, whether that entity is situated inside or outside the EU; and (5) to any legal entity in respect of business done in whole or in part within the EU.

Members of the European Parliament have unanimously voted that all sanctions against Russia should also be mirrored for Belarus, in light of its support for the Russian campaign against Ukraine.

The table annexed to this note lists key entities and individuals named as being subject to EU (as well as U.S. and U.K.) sanctions.

Sanctions Measures

EU sanctions against Russia include the following categories of measures:

  • Asset freezes, prohibiting the provision of funds or economic resources to sanctioned individuals (who are named in Annexes to the relevant implementing legislation and listed on the EU’s consolidated financial sanctions list (individual accounts must be set up to gain access)).
  • Financial services restrictions:
  • prohibiting dealings in transferable securities[2] and money-market instruments issued by sanctioned entities, as well as other categories of related entities (e.g., non-EU entities that are more than 50% owned by the sanctioned entity). The prohibition also applies to certain securities and instruments issued by the Russian government and Russian Central Bank;
  • restricting sanctioned entities’ ability to access EU capital markets;
  • banning the listing and provision of services in relation to the shares of Russian or Belarusian State-owned entities on EU trading venues;
  • significantly limiting financial inflows from Russia or Belarus to the EU by prohibiting: (1) the acceptance of deposits exceeding certain values from Russian nationals, residents or legal entities established in third countries that are majority-owned by Russian nationals or residents; (2) the holding of Russian-client accounts by EU central securities depositories; as well as (3) the selling of Euro-denominated banknotes or securities to Russian or Belarusian clients;
  • prohibiting investment or participation in projects co-financed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund, as well as transactions related to the management of assets and reserves of the Russian Central Bank and the Belarusian Central Bank;
  • prohibiting support, including financial assistance, to Russian publicly-owned or controlled entities;
  • prohibiting the use of SWIFT by specified Russian and Belarusian entities; and
  • prohibiting the provision of credit rating services to Russian individuals or entities.
  • Trade restrictions on a range of goods, including a ban on the import, purchase or transfer of Russian gold (including jewelry). Other restricted goods include dual-use goods and technology and related services as well as coal and other solid fossil fuels. The EU is phasing out Russian crude oil imports into the EU by December 2022, with refined products following by February 2023. An exception has been agreed for imports of crude oil via pipeline, which are crucial for EU states such as Hungary. Subject to this phasing out, firms will still be permitted to conclude deals with Russian state-owned oil companies that are strictly necessary for the purchase, import or transport of oil. Engaging in transactions with Russian public entities is otherwise prohibited. The EU has announced a ban on insuring ships carrying Russian oil, which will take effect from December 2022.
  • Professional services restrictions on the provision of accountancy, management consultancy and public relations services to the Government of Russia or Russian companies.
  • Maritime and transport restrictions, prohibiting vessels registered under the Russian flag from accessing EU ports and locks, as well as the transportation of goods by road within the EU by Russian and Belarusian haulage companies. The EU has placed a number of Russian airlines on its EU Air Safety List in response to Russia’s seizure and operation of foreign-owned aircraft without valid certificates of airworthiness. The EU Air Safety List is not a sanctions measure, but means that the listed airlines will not be permitted to enter EU airspace.
  • Media restrictions, restricting access to Russian state-owned media, including RT (Russia Today) and Sputnik News.
  • Diplomatic measures, such as prohibiting Russian diplomats and other officials from benefiting from visa facilitation provisions.


A range of exemptions exist, including to permit member states to release frozen funds or resources in certain limited circumstances, such as where necessary to satisfy basic needs such as foodstuffs or medicines or for payment of reasonable professional fees. The EU has clarified that none of its sanctions are intended to target trade between Russia and third countries in food, agricultural products (including fertilizers) or pharmaceutical and medical products.

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