EU Reactions to Russian War in Ukraine: Overview July – October 2022
This news item continues the reporting on key EU reactions following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, as far as the impact of the invasion on the EU’s internal security policy, criminal law and the protection of the EU’s financial interests are concerned. The following overview covers the period from the end of July 2022 to the end of October 2022 (for the developments from February 2022 to mid-July 2022 → eucrim 2/2022, 74-80).
- 26 July 2022: The Council prolonged the restrictive measures targeting specific sectors, such as finance, energy, technology, dual-use goods, industry, transport and luxury goods of the Russian Federation, by six months, i.e. until 31 January 2023. These sanctions were first introduced in 2014 in response to Russia's actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine (illegal annexation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol) and were significantly expanded since the Russian’s military invasion in February 2022;
- 1 and 2 August 2022: The European Commission, on behalf of the EU, disburses €1 billion exceptional macro-financial assistance (MFA) for Ukraine. It is to support Ukraine in addressing its immediate financial needs following the aggression by Russia. This MFA is the first part of the exceptional MFA package of up to €9 billion endorsed by the European Council of 23-24 June 2022 and complements the financial support already provided by the EU in the first half of the year in the form of emergency loans. MFA is a form of financial aid extended by the EU to neighbouring countries experiencing a balance of payments crisis.
- 4 August 2022: The Council decided to impose restrictive measures on two additional individuals in response to the ongoing unjustified and unprovoked Russian military aggression against Ukraine. They concern first Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych, pro-Russian former President of Ukraine, for his role in undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine and the state’s stability and security. Second, they target Oleksandr Viktorovych Yanukovych (Viktor's son) for also conducting transactions with the separatist groups in the Donbas region of Ukraine;
- 5 September 2022: The EU fosters the connection of Ukraine to the EU’s cooperation in customs and tax matters. It paved the way for Ukraine’s participation in the EU’s Customs and Fiscalis programmes. Ukraine can now be a partner together with EU Member States and other participating countries if it comes to the promotion of cooperation in the fields of taxation and customs management.
- 9 September 2022: In the framework of the informal ECOFIN Council meeting in Prague, the finance ministers of the EU countries endorsed the next tranche of the exceptional macro-financial assistance (MFA) to Ukraine in the amount of €5 billion. “The new loan of €5 billion will be used for the day-to-day running of the state and to ensure the operation of the country's critical infrastructure, such as offices, schools and hospitals”, Zbyněk Stanjura, Minister of Finance of Czechia said. The EP approved the €5 billion loan on 15 September 2022. A precondition for the granting of the MFA is that Ukraine respects effective democratic mechanisms – including a multi-party parliamentary system – and the rule of law, and guarantees respect for human rights.
- 14 September 2022: The Council prolonged the duration of the restrictive measures (such as travel restrictions for natural persons, freezing of assets, and a ban on making funds or other economic resources available) targeting those responsible for undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine (1206 individuals and 108 entities are listed) for a further six months, until 15 March 2023;
- 1 October 2022: Ukraine is able to operate common transits. The country joined the EU-Common Transit Countries’ Convention on a Common Transit Procedure and the Convention on the Simplification of Formalities in Trade in Goods. The conventions facilitate the movement of goods and trade between EU Member States and partner countries.
- 6 October 2022: Following the “maintenance and alignment package of 21 July 2022 (→ eucrim 2/2022, 75), the Council adopted the eight package of sanctions against Russia for its continued aggression against Ukraine. The package particularly comes in response to the illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory by sham referenda, the mobilization of additional troops and the issuance of open nuclear threats from the part of Russia. The package includes the geographical extension of restrictive measures to the oblasts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, new export and import restrictions, and the implementation of the G7 oil price cap. It also tightens prohibitions on crypto assets by banning all crypto-asset wallets, accounts, or custody services, irrespective of the amount of the wallet. Several services, such as IT consultancy, legal advisory, architecture and engineering services, can no longer be provided to the government of Russia or legal persons established in Russia;
- 6 October 2022: The Council decided to impose restrictive measures on an additional 30 individuals and 7 entities and to broaden the listing criteria on which specific designations can be based, in order to include the possibility to target those who facilitate the circumvention of EU sanctions. Restrictive measures from the EU presently cover a total of 115 entities and 1236 individuals. Those who have been identified have their assets frozen, and neither EU citizens nor businesses are allowed to provide them with funding. A travel prohibition that also applies to natural persons stops them from entering or passing through EU countries;
- 6 October 2022: In a resolution on Russia’s escalation of its war of aggression against Ukraine, the EP calls, inter alia, for the establishment of an ad hoc international tribunal for the crime of aggression against Ukraine, where Putin and all Russian civilian and military officials and their proxies responsible for masterminding, launching and conducting the war in Ukraine would be prosecuted;
- 13 October 2022: At the JHA Council meeting, minister took stock of ongoing work on judicial responses and the fight against impunity regarding crimes committed in connection with Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. This includes support for the investigation and prosecution of war crimes and the other most serious crimes, as well as action to ensure the full implementation of the individual and economic sanctions adopted (→ eucrim 2/2022, 79-80);
- 20 October 2022: The Council expands the list of individuals who are subject to restrictive measures for undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine to three Iranians and one Iranian entity for their role in the use of Iranian drones in the Russian war in Ukraine.