The European Commission has announced an approval over the extension of sanctions affecting Russia and Belarus.  

In response to the newest developments of the Ukraine crisis, the Commission – in coherence with EU Member States – has agreed to prolong the penalties imposed on Russia and Belarus, adding the country governed by the self-described ‘dictator’ Lukashenko to the list only after it became directly involved in the conflict.

Being focused on delivering a unified and harmonised response to the aggression against Ukraine, the new measures will feature an amendment of two regulations from 2006 and 2014 concerning Belarus and Russia respectively. 

This aims to closely align both directives and with that – make them more effective in ensuring that sanction circumvention is not possible, even through Belarus.

Peeling the decision further, Belarus will be hindered economically by having to endure SWIFT prohibitions and other sanctions resembling those against Russia. The Central Bank of Belarus will be barred from taking part in transactions related to the management of reserves or assets, as well as the provision of public financing for trade in the country.

Belarusian state-owned entities will be banned from trading shares on EU trading venues starting 12 April. Deposits exceeding €100,000 will also no longer be available to Belarusian nationals or people living in Belarus, while euro denominated banknotes will be prohibited from entering the state.

Russia meanwhile will receive new sanctions in the form of export restrictions concerning maritime navigation together with radio communication technology, with the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping being added to the list of state-owned businesses that so far have received severe financial limitations.

This sees the number of restrictive measures enacted by the EU against Russia and Belarus expand to a total of 862 individuals and 53 entities. If the crisis progresses, further international cooperation is expected to take place in support of Ukraine.