EU Reactions to Russian War against Ukraine: Overview July 2023 – September 2023

This news item continues the reporting on key EU reactions following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 in relation to the following aspects: the impact of the invasion on the EU’s internal security policy, on criminal law, and on the protection of the EU’s financial interests. The following overview covers the period from the beginning of July 2023 to the end of September 2023. For overviews of the developments from February 2022 to mid-July 2022 → eucrim 2/2022, 74-80; for the developments from the end of July 2022 to the end of October 2022→ eucrim 3/2022, 170-171; for the developments from November 2022 to December 2022 → eucrim 4/2022, 226-228; for the developments from January 2023 to June 2023 → eucrim 1/2023, 6-9.

  • 5 July 2023: OLAF meets with senior management officials of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), the Specialised Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine (SAPO) and the United States Agency for International Development, Office of Inspector General (USAID) to discuss the effective protection of finances. Participants exchange views on work priorities, fraud risks and main challenges that must be addressed in order to implement efficient and visible measures to fight fraud and corruption affecting the EU’s and international financial assistance to Ukraine.
  • 7 July 2023: The Council presidency reaches a provisional agreement with European Parliament representatives on the Act in Support of Ammunition Production (ASAP). Implementing the third track of the plan agreed by the Council on 20 March 2023 to secure the long-term increase in European ammunition production for the benefit of Ukraine and EU Member States (→ eucrim 1/2023, 6-9), the regulation will mobilise €500 million from the EU budget (in current prices) as a matter of urgency in order to support the ramp-up of manufacturing capacities for the production of ground-to-ground and artillery ammunition as well as missiles.
  • 12 July 2023: The plenary of the European Parliament gives green light to enter into interinstitutional negotiations on the proposal for a directive on the definition of criminal offences and penalties for the violation of restrictive Union measures (for the Commission proposal → eucrim 2/2022, 75-76). The EP backs the LIBE Committee's report adopted on 7 July 2023. It is recommended that proceeds derived from the violation of the Union's restrictive measures or instruments used to pursue the violation of restrictive measures should be subject to confiscation. If the assets are confiscated in connection with the Russian war against Ukraine or related crimes, the confiscated assets or the net proceeds from the liquidation of such assets should be used for contributions towards the reconstruction of Ukraine.
  • 12 July 2023: The leaders of the G7, who convened in Vilnius (Lithuania) for the NATO summit, adopt a joint declaration of support for Ukraine in which they reaffirmed their unwavering commitment to the strategic objective of a free, independent, democratic, and sovereign Ukraine.
  • 17 July 2023: The European Union issues a statement condemning Russia’s decision to terminate the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The EU sees this as a way of weaponising food, with Russia further exacerbating the global food security crisis.
  • 20 July 2023: The Council prolongs by six months, until 31 January 2024, the restrictive measures targeting specific sectors of the economy of the Russian Federation.
  • 28 July 2023: The Council adds natural and legal person to the list of those subject to restrictive EU measures for actions that undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of Ukraine. The Council imposes its restrictive measures against seven Russian individuals and five entities responsible for conducting a digital information manipulation campaign, known as "RRN" (Recent Reliable News), aimed at distorting information and disseminating propaganda in support of Russia's aggression against Ukraine. In total, some 1800 individuals and entities are now subject to these restrictive EU measures.
  • 3 August 2023: In response to Belarus’s involvement in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the EU adopts new restrictive measures against 38 individuals and three entities from Belarus who are responsible for serious human rights violations, who contribute to the repression of civil society and democratic forces as well as against those who benefit from and support the Lukashenko regime. The list now includes individuals responsible for torture, propagandists, and members of the judiciary involved in the persecution of democratic opponents. It also extends to state-owned companies that have taken action against employees involved in peaceful protests, including the state-controlled conglomerate Belneftekhim. In total, the EU's restrictive measures against Belarus now cover 233 individuals and 37 entities.
  • 5 August 2023: Council Regulation (EU) 2023/1594 amending Regulation (EC) No 765/2006 enters into force. It modifies restrictive measures in view of the situation in Belarus and the involvement of Belarus in the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The EU imposes new targeted restrictive measures, such as an export ban on goods and technology related to aviation and space industries; prohibition of the sale, supply, transfer, or export of firearms and ammunition; expansion of export restrictions on items used by Russia in its aggression, including semiconductor devices, electronic circuits, manufacturing/testing equipment, photographic cameras, and optical components; extension of the export ban on dual-use goods and technology.
  • 7-11 August 2023: The AFCOS Latvia hosts colleagues from the Economic Security Bureau of Ukraine in order to support their capacities in protecting the financial interests of the Union. Latvian experts explain the system and measures in place in Latvia to protect the EU's financial interests. Participants also discuss improvements on the Ukraine's prevention of and fight against fraud.
  • 4 September 2023: The Commission issues a guidance note for customs authorities of the EU Member State on how to deal with blocked goods brought into the EU before any restrictions (particularly those in the context of Russia's aggression against Ukraine) applied to them. The guidance note relates to the new Art. 12e of Council Regulation (EU) No 833/2014 (introduced by the 10th sanctions package → eucrim 1/2023, 7), which regulates the conditions for the release of such blocked goods. The note provides examples for the release and exceptions.
  • 7 September 2023: The Commission issues a guidance note to help European companies identify and avoid the circumvention of sanctions. The publication was made against the backdrop of increasingly complex and opaque circumvention practices on the part of Russia in connection with the war in Ukraine. The guidelines are intended to provide EU companies with practical assistance in carrying out mandatory due diligence. The guidance note includes the successive steps to be followed when conducting strategic risk assessments, guidelines for the implementation of enhanced due diligence for companies exposed most to this risk as well as a list of warning signs (red flags) of circumvention relating to customers and business partners.
  • 22 September 2023: The Commission pays a further €1.5 billion to Ukraine. With this payment, Ukraine has so far received €13.5 billion this year under Macro-financial Assistance+.
  • 22 September 2023: The Commission publishes a list of "Common High Priority Items". These are dual-use goods that were found on the battlefield in Ukraine or critical to the development, production or use of those Russian military systems. The list aims to support due diligence and effective compliance by exporters and targeted anti-circumvention actions by customs and enforcement agencies of partner countries.
  • 28 September 2023: The Council agrees to extend the temporary protection system for Ukrainian refugees until 4 March 2025. The systems allows for immediate and collective (i.e. without the need for the examination of individual applications) protection to displaced persons who are not in a position to return to their country of origin. Currently, over 4 million Ukrainian refugees live in the EU.

News Guide

EU Area of Freedom, Security and Justice Ukraine conflict Protection of Financial Interests


2018-Max_Planck_Herr_Wahl_1355_black white_Zuschnitt.jpg
Thomas Wahl

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law (MPI CSL)

Public Law Department

Senior Researcher