Restrictions on gas exports and media access: EU’s 14th package of anti-Russian sanctions

  BRUSSELS: The EU Council approved the 14th package of sanctions against Russia, which will come into force later today after publication i...

 


BRUSSELS: The EU Council approved the 14th package of sanctions against Russia, which will come into force later today after publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. For the first time, the European Union has imposed restrictions on the export of Russian gas - gas supplies to EU countries are allowed, but the transit of Russian LNG through the ports and terminals of EU countries to third countries will be banned. This provision is expected to come into force in nine months.

Bans have also been introduced for European businesses to use the Bank of Russia’s SPFS system. The package includes restrictions on access to Russian media, new technological and export restrictions, a blacklist of 116 people.

The EU has also introduced a number of "luxury bans", including a ban on private jet travel to EU resorts.

LNG

The European Union introduced restrictions on the transit of Russian LNG through European ports as part of the 14th package of sanctions against Russia and also prohibited investments, the provision of goods and services for the completion of the Arctic LNG 2 and Murmansk LNG projects.

"The EU will forbid reloading services of Russian LNG in EU territory for the purpose of transshipment operations to third countries. This covers both ship-to-ship transfers and ship-to-shore transfers, as well as re-loading operations, and does not affect import but only re-export to third countries via the EU," the EC said.

"Furthermore, the EU will prohibit new investments, as well as the provision of goods, technology and services for the completion of LNG projects under construction, such as Arctic LNG 2 and Murmansk LNG. Import restrictions are introduced on Russian LNG through EU terminals not connected to the natural gas system," the EU Council said.

The ban on the transit of Russian LNG through European ports to third countries will come into force in nine months. According to the EC statement, "the use of EU ports for transshipment of Russian LNG" will be prohibited "after a transition period of nine months."

Sea transport

The European Union also imposed sanctions against 27 ships, which, among other things, allegedly transport Russian oil and oil products, despite the Group of Seven (G7) price cap.

"For the first time, the EU has adopted a measure targeting specific vessels contributing to Russia’s warfare against Ukraine, which are subject to a port access ban and ban on provision of services. These vessels can be designated for various reasons such as the transport of military equipment for Russia, the transport of stolen Ukrainian grain, and support in the development of Russia’s energy sector, for instance through the transport of LNG components or transshipments of LNG. This measure also targets tankers part of Putin’s dark fleet which circumvent the EU and Price Cap Coalition’s caps, while adopting deceptive shipping practices in complete disregard of international standards. 27 vessels were targeted today on these grounds," the statement said.

Banking transactions

The European Union banned its companies that do not operate in Russia from using the System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS) of the Bank of Russia.

"The Council decided to outlaw the use of the ‘System for Transfer of Financial Messages’ (SPFS), a specialized financial messaging service developed by the Central Bank of Russia to neutralize the effect of restrictive measures. EU entities operating outside of Russia will be forbidden from connecting to the SPFS or equivalent specialized financial messaging services," the statement said.

The EU also banned transactions with banks and cryptocurrency service providers that work with enterprises of the military-industrial complex of Russia. "Furthermore, the Council is introducing a ban on transactions with targeted credit and financial institutions and crypto assets providers established outside of the EU, when these entities facilitate transactions that support Russia’s defense-industrial base through the export, supply, sale, transfer or transport towards Russia of dual-use goods and technology, sensitive items, battlefield goods, firearms and ammunition," the European Commission said.

Dual-use goods

The EU imposed restrictions on exports of dual-use goods and technologies against 61 companies from countries outside the community, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Turkey.

Companies registered in the European Union and selling military goods to third countries must also assess the risks of their re-export to Russia. "In addition, EU operators transferring industrial know-how for the production of battlefield goods to third-country commercial counterparts will now have to include contractual provisions to ensure that such know-how will not be used for goods intended to Russia," the statement said.

Diamonds

At the same time, the EU authorities virtually allowed imports of a number of types of diamonds of Russian origin, the European Commission said in a statement explaining the provisions of the 14th package of sanctions against Russia.

The text states that the previously introduced ban on imports of Russian diamonds does not apply to those that were located in the EU or in a third country (other than Russia) or that were cut or produced in a third country before the entry into force of the ban on Russian diamonds. Community authorities also allowed temporary imports or exports of jewelry for trade shows or jewelry restoration.

Foreign agents within EU

The EU banned media and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from receiving funding from Russia. However, this restriction does not apply to the professional activities of Russian media or bloggers working in the EU. It was emphasized that this measure should not prevent Russian media and their personnel from carrying out their professional activities in the EU, including research and interviews.

Restricting access to media

Brussels will restrict access to three Russian media from June 25 - RIA Novosti, Izvestia, and Rossiyskaya Gazeta. According to the statement, measures will be introduced to suspend the broadcasting or anti-EU activities of some media.

Other measures

The European Union limits the acceptance of applications for registration of intellectual property rights from Russian individuals and legal entities. "Today’s package will impose restrictions on accepting applications for registrations in the EU of certain intellectual property rights by Russian nationals and companies, with the aim of offsetting the actions of the Russian government and courts illegitimately depriving EU intellectual property rights holders of their protection in Russia," the statement said.

The EU banned its airlines from operating charters and private flights for individuals and legal entities from Russia, and has also banned any non-scheduled flights for Russians over its territory. "In order to avoid other forms of circumvention, the Council decided to widen the EU flight ban. The prohibition to land in, take off from or overfly the territory of the EU will also apply to any aircraft used for a non-scheduled flight, and where a Russian natural or legal person, entity or body, is in a position to effectively determine the place or time for its take-off or landing to reach, for instance, a holiday destination or a business meeting. Furthermore, operators must provide any information requested by member states’ national competent authorities about non-scheduled flights, including ownership of the aircraft and possibly passengers," the statement said.

Imports of Russian helium, as well as exports of manganese ores, several types of plastic, and rare earth elements to Russia were also banned by the EU. "The EU also introduced further restrictions on exports of goods which contribute in particular to the enhancement of Russian industrial capabilities (e.g. chemicals, including manganese ores and compounds of rare-earths, plastics, excavating machinery, monitors and electrical equipment), as well as further restrictions on the import of helium from Russia," the statement said.

The EU also included in the 14th package of sanctions provisions to support claims by European companies for compensation for damage from the retaliatory actions of Russia. "The package also includes measures to allow EU operators to claim compensation from damages caused by Russian companies due to sanctions implementation and expropriation. It also creates the instrument to draw up a list of company subject to a transaction ban for meddling with arbitration and court competence," the document said.


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Local Glob: Restrictions on gas exports and media access: EU’s 14th package of anti-Russian sanctions
Restrictions on gas exports and media access: EU’s 14th package of anti-Russian sanctions
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