Photo credits @ Adobestock/ New Africa

EU expands road freight ban in latest sanctions against Russia

The European Union has introduced a 14th package of sanctions aimed at further undermining Russia's ability to continue its war against Ukraine. The most significant measure relating to road transport is the extension of the ban on the transport of goods by road within the EU.

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In the EU’s 14th sanctions package, the prohibition on road transport within the EU has been extended. Now, EU operators owned 25% or more by Russian entities are also barred from transporting goods across EU territory, including transit operations.

For the first time, the EU has targeted specific vessels supporting Russia’s military activities. These vessels face bans on port access and service provision. The targeted ships include those transporting military equipment, stolen Ukrainian grain, and LNG components aiding Russia’s energy sector. Additionally, the sanctions target tankers involved in deceptive shipping practices that circumvent EU sanctions and price caps. Today, 27 vessels were identified under these new measures.

The EU has also expanded the flight ban to include non-scheduled flights controlled by Russian entities. This prohibition aims to prevent Russian individuals or bodies from determining the flight schedules for private or business purposes. Operators are now required to provide detailed information on such flights, including ownership and passenger details.

Additional energy, anti-circumvention and financial sanctions

To reduce Russia’s LNG revenue, the EU has banned reloading services of Russian LNG within its territory for transshipment to third countries. Additionally, new investments and the provision of goods, technology, and services for LNG projects like Arctic LNG 2 and Murmansk LNG are prohibited.

Import restrictions have also been introduced for Russian LNG through terminals not connected to the EU’s natural gas system.

The EU is also implementing stricter measures to prevent the circumvention of sanctions. EU parent companies must ensure their third-country subsidiaries do not engage in activities that undermine the sanctions.

The sanctions include a ban on the use of Russia’s financial messaging service, SPFS. EU entities are prohibited from connecting to SPFS or equivalent services. Transactions with listed entities using SPFS outside Russia are also banned. The Council has introduced restrictions on transactions with specific financial institutions and crypto asset providers outside the EU that facilitate transactions supporting Russia’s defence industry.

Protections for EU operators to claim compensation for damages due to sanctions implementation are introduced, along with a mechanism to list companies involved in arbitration and court interference.

The legal acts will soon be published in the Official Journal of the EU, further solidifying these comprehensive measures to pressure Russia to cease its aggression against Ukraine.