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Sanctions against Russia – one year after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine


The European Union has just adopted the tenth sanctions package against Russia in response to the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Both the sectoral and individual sanctions have progressively been expanded. They are currently described as the most extensive ever, but what does that really mean?

EU sanctions against Russia have been in place since the aggression in 2014, when Crimea was illegally annexed and the destabilisation of Ukraine began. In addition to the listing of individuals, restrictions were imposed on access to EU capital markets for Russian state-owned financial institutions, an arms embargo was introduced, an export ban on dual-use goods for military end-users was put in place and restrictions were imposed on Russia’s access to certain sensitive technologies, particularly in the oil sector.

Import and export bans have been expanded and Russia’s access to weapons has been restricted

In 2022, import and export bans in particular were expanded. Russia’s income from one of its most important sources of income – oil – has been restricted through a price cap for trading both crude oil and petroleum products.

Access by Russian industry to inputs from the West has been restricted and access by the Russian weapons industry to technology from the EU has been curtailed. The EU has also sanctioned Iranian individuals and entities that deliver weapons systems that Russia uses against Ukraine.

Both Russian and Belarusian banks have been banned from the SWIFT payment system. The EU has closed access to EU airspace for all Russian-owned and Russian-registered aircraft, and imposed a temporary broadcasting ban on outlets that spread disinformation and propaganda.

Assets of individuals and organisations have been frozen

Prior to the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, 185 individuals and 48 entities were subject to asset freeze and entry bans. At present, more than 1 400 individuals and 200 organisations and companies have had their assets frozen and/or are subject to an entry ban.

Cooperation with partners has intensified

In response to the full-scale invasion, cooperation among partners has intensified. The price cap on crude oil and petroleum products is one concrete example of a measure adopted in cooperation with the EU’s G7 partners.

Many countries, including Norway, have joined EU sanctions. The United States and the United Kingdom have sanctions that are largely similar to EU sanctions.

Implementation of and compliance with the sanctions becoming increasingly important

One area that has become increasingly important as the sanctions become more extensive is the implementation of, and compliance with, the sanctions. There are dedicated EU working groups that discuss such matters. Public authorities in the Member States are among those that exchange experiences on working methods within the framework of these working groups. The European Commission has also published more guidance documents intended for the general public and public authorities.

The Commission has also created a new role, that of International Special Envoy for the Implementation of EU Sanctions.

Implementation and compliance efforts are becoming increasingly important to ensure that the sanctions are not circumvented.


What many people refer to as ‘the sanctions against Russia’ includes several different sanctions systems, including the sectoral sanctions against Russia (restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine).

The Council of the European Union takes decisions on the sanctions through Council decisions, Council regulations and implementing regulations.

The content of the sanctions is public. Read more on the EU Sanctions Map.