UK, EU and US sanctions on Russia: Part 1 – What’s new?

UK, EU and US Sanctions on Russia and Belarus update as of January 17, 2024.

With the rapid expansion of UK, EU and US sanctions on Russia and Belarus in recent weeks – and with more in the regulatory pipeline – we set out in a new 3 part series: what’s new, a 5-step checklist for assessing how your activities may be affected and a sanctions summary.

What’s new in sanctions


  • On January 10, 2024, the Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) issued guidance, consisting of reminders and good practice for export licence applications, requests for information and end user undertakings.
  • On December 22, 2023, the UK amended General Licence INT/2022/1710676 (Continuation of Business of Evraz Plc’s North American Subsidiaries). As well as expanding the definition of “North American Subsidiaries”, the General Licence was also extended until September 30, 2024.
  • Since the latest amendments made to the UK’s sanctions regime on December 15, 2023, various guidance and information has been published by OFSI:
    • On December 21, 2023, OFSI published a blog post on the correspondent banking restrictions. The blog post provides detail on the types of payments that will be caught as well as what can be done if a payment cannot be processed.
    • OFSI also updated its webpage on reporting information to OFSI. This now reflects the newly introduced reporting obligations on both relevant firms and designated persons. Forms have also been uploaded to assist with complying with the reporting obligations. 
    • Guidance documents have been updated to reflect the various changes, including:
      • General guidance on UK Financial Sanctions (here);
      • Complying with professional and business services sanctions (here);
      • Guidance for financial and investment restrictions (here); and
      • Guidance on enforcement and monetary penalties (here).


  • On January 3, 2024, the EU designated PJSC Alrosa and its CEO, Pavel Alekseevich Marinychev. PJSC Alrosa is the largest diamond-mining company in the world. Owned by the Russian State, it accounts for over 90% of all Russian diamond production. The designations are intended to complement the import ban on Russian diamonds, which was introduced in the EU’s 12th package of sanctions adopted on December 18, 2023.
  • On December 22, 2023, the EU updated its Consolidated FAQs to reflect the EU’s 12th package of sanctions. Updates were made to the following sections:
    • D5. Import, Purchase and Transfer of Listed Goods (here); 
    • D6. Transit of Listed Goods via Russia (here);
    • D11. Divestment from Russia (here); and
    • D12. Restrictions on Diamonds (here).
  • On December 20, 2023, the General Court of the EU published three de-listing judgments:
    • The court granted Mr Sergei Mndoiants’ application for annulment from the Russia sanctions list. Mr Mndoiants was originally designated for being a vice-president of Sistema PAO and VLM Invest and for being on the board of directors of SVOP and the Regional Public Foundation for the Development of Business Cooperation and Entrepreneurship Foundation. In addition to finding that Mr Mndoiants had left Sistema in 2012 (and did not hold any influence over the company), Mr Mndoiants was also found not to be a leading businessperson in relation to the other entities.
    • The court dismissed Roman Abramovich’s de-listing application. Mr Abramovich had been designated due to his close ties with Putin and role as a majority shareholder in the Evraz steel group. Among other reasons, the court held that the Council had rightly designated Mr Abramovich due to his role at Evraz and Evraz’s operations in the steel and mining sector, which provides a substantial source of revenue to the Russian Government.
    • The court rejected Vadim Nikolaevich Moshkovich’s de-listing application. Mr Moshkovich was designated in March 2022 for his position as founder of Rusagro Group and for attending a meeting with Putin in February 2022 in the aftermath of the initial stages of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


  • On January 11, the US Department of State designated 3 Russian entities, 1 individual, and 4 aircraft involved in the transfer and testing of DPRK ballistic missiles for Russia’s use against Ukraine:
    • Joint Stock Company the 224th Flight Unit State Airlines, which provides commercial air cargo transport services, and its General Director, Vladimir Vladimirovich Mikheychik;
    • Vladimirovka Advanced Weapons and Research Complex, a Russian military facility involved in the testing of missiles;
    • Ashuluk Firing Range, a Russian missile testing range; and
    • 4 aircraft belonging to the US-designated Command of the Military Transport Aviation, which were allegedly involved in the transfer of the DPRK missiles.
  • On December 22, 2023, President Biden signed a new Executive Order designed to strengthen US sanctions authorities against financial facilitators of Russia’s war machine. The Executive Order allows for the imposition of sanctions on financial institutions that (i) conduct or facilitate any significant transaction for or on behalf of companies or individuals the US has sanctioned for operating in sectors of the Russian economy that support Russia’s military base; and (ii) conduct or facilitate any significant transaction, or provide any service, which involves Russia’s military industrial base. The Executive Order also provides authority to broaden US import bans on certain Russian goods, for example, diamonds that have been mined, processed or produced in Russia.
  • On December 21, 2023, it was reported that Russia-based Novotek had sent force majeure notifications to some of its buyers regarding future supplies from the Arctic LNG 2 project, a large liquefied natural gas project. Novotek had indicated that US sanctions imposed in November 2023 are making it impossible to make shipments.
  • On December 21, 2023, OFAC reached a settlement with Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange (PURE). PURE agreed to settle its liability for 39 violations of OFAC’s Russian sanctions for $466,200. The violations involve PURE’s engagement in transactions related to four insurance policies involving a blocked company owned by Specially Designated National, Viktor Vekselberg. The settlement amount reflects OFAC’s determination that PURE’s violations were not voluntarily self-disclosed and were non-egregious.
  • On December 19, 2023, Cyril Gregory Buyanovsky, owner and president of KanRus Trading Company Inc., pleaded guilty for his role in a conspiracy to circumvent US export laws by filing false export forms and, in February 2022, continuing to sell and export sophisticated and controlled avionics equipment to customers in Russia without the required licenses. Mr Buyanovsky also consented to the forfeiture of over $450,000 worth of avionics equipment and a $50,000 personal forfeiture judgment. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 21, 2024 where Mr Buyanovsky faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

* The contents of this article do not constitute legal advice and are provided for general information purposes only.

Andrew Hood is a regulatory partner and the head of European law firm Fieldfisher’s Trade team. Charlie Smith is a solicitor in the Regulatory team in Fieldfisher’s London office. Richard Tauwhere is an advisor in Fieldfisher’s International Trade team.