Which sanctions have been adopted against Russia?

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Response to the attack Which sanctions have been adopted against Russia?

Working in partnership with the European Union and international partners, Germany has responded to Russia’s attack on Ukraine with extremely tough sanctions. In particular, these aim to massively weaken the Russian economy and the political elite. The sanctions are already having an effect. A summary.

4 min reading time

The Ukrainian flag was raised outside the Chancellery as a sign of solidarity.

The Ukrainian flag was raised outside the Chancellery as a sign of solidarity.

Photo: Federal Government/Bergmann

The EU has worked with international partners to adopt swingeing sanctions against individuals and organisations in the finance, energy and transport sectors, along with imposing visa restrictions.

Financial sector:

  • Russian banks have been excluded from the SWIFT system. In real terms, this means that these institutions have been cut off from accessing the international flow of money. In practice, they cannot participate in international payment transactions, which severely limits their ability to act on the global stage.
  • The EU will ban transactions by the Russian central bank and freeze all its assets. The EU is also training its sights on the assets of Russian oligarchs. Wide-ranging restrictions have been imposed on the Russian central bank to prevent it from accessing its foreign currency reserves.
  • In concrete terms, this means:  70 percent of the Russian banking market and key state-owned enterprises – including in the defence sector – are cut off from the main capital markets.

A taskforce has been set up to ensure the swingeing sanctions are implemented in full and without any loopholes. The taskforce will be led jointly by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection and the Federal Ministry of Finance. The EU has also set up a taskforce.

Energy sector:

  • Export bans are to be imposed with a particular focus on making it impossible for Russia to modernise its oil refineries. 
  • In concrete terms, this means: sales of refined oil to the EU brought in 24 billion euros for Russia in 2019, making Russia extremely dependent on these deliveries.
  • In addition, an import ban on Russian coal was agreed on 7 April.
  • In June the EU imposed an embargo on shipments of Russian oil (with a transition period).

Transport sector:

  • EU airspace is closed to all aircraft in Russian ownership, registered in Russia or controlled by Russia. These aircraft will no longer be able to land, take off or fly over the EU area.
  • It is now forbidden to export, sell, deliver or transfer aircraft or equipment to Russian airlines. This ban includes all associated repair, maintenance and financing services.
  • In concrete terms, this means: three quarters of Russia’s aircraft fleet was built in the EU, the US or Canada. This means that Russia will no longer be able to continue using its fleet in compliance with international standards.
  • In addition, ports, harbours and locks in EU countries are closed to Russian shipping. Exceptions apply, such as to ships transporting pharmaceutical, medical or agricultural products or food. 
  • The EU has also banned Russian road transport companies from entering the EU, albeit with exceptions for agricultural products and food, amongst other things.
  • The European Commission has published guidelines on goods transport between the Kaliningrad region and Russia.

Since February, the EU has adopted six wide-ranging packages of sanctions against Russia. These were further expanded on 20 July. Amongst other things, the latest sanctions focus on closing loopholes and maintaining and aligning existing sanctions with other international sanctions. These measures also serve to protect global food security.

Industrial sector

  • Russia’s ability to access key technologies such as semiconductors, the latest software and dual-use goods is now restricted.
  • The sanctions also include import bans on wood, cement and other products that represent major sources of income for Russia.
  • Export bans also apply to chemicals that can be used to manufacture weapons.

Granting of visas:

  • Diplomats, business professionals and similar groups will lose their privileged access to the European Union.

Individual restrictions on persons and institutions:

  • The sanctions also target numerous individuals and institutions in Russia and abroad that support the war against Ukraine. Those affected include President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov, five other members of the Russian National Security Council, all Duma representatives, Kremlin spokesman Peskov, representatives of the military and numerous oligarchs.

Other measures:

  • An import ban has been imposed on Russian gold.  
  • Five Russian state-owned media companies are no longer allowed to broadcast in the EU. The aim here is to counteract the dissemination of Russian state disinformation. 
  • A broadcasting ban has been imposed on three Russian state broadcasters as well as a ban on financing the state broadcasters by placing advertisements.
  • The EU agreed on new sanctions against Belarus on 2 March in response to its support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The measures include new economic sanctions and lists of Belarusian officials and members of the military who are involved in the aggression against Ukraine.

The website of the European Council offers a detailed overview of EU sanctions against Russia.