Major Sanctions Developments

Canada Imposes Sanctions Against 160 Russian Lawmakers. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced further sanctions against Russia as part of Canada’s coordinated response to Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine. The new measures target 160 members of the Russian Federation Council for their role in enabling the invasion. Canada is also set to impose prohibitions under the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations to prohibit the export of certain goods and technologies to Russia. Trudeau announced the measures after concluding his trip to Brussels, where he addressed the European Parliament and met with NATO leaders and officials from the Group of Seven nations.

Australia Imposes New Sanctions Against Russian Propagandists, Belarusian President. The Australian government imposed sanctions against 22 additional Russian propagandists, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, and members of his family. Senior editors from organizations, including Russia Today, the Strategic Culture Foundation, InfoRos, and NewsFront have also been designated for spreading pro-Kremlin propaganda, bringing the total count of designated propagandists to 32. The restrictions also target Lukashenko for his continued support to Russia and its military forces.

Switzerland Adopts EU’s Additional Sanctions on Russia. Switzerland's Federal Council announced the country will implement additional sanctions imposed by the European Union against Russia. The Council noted that the latest sanctions package now completely prohibits the export of goods and related services for the Russian energy sector. The participation in businesses active in the energy sector and the provision of loans or other financial resources to such businesses is also prohibited. Additionally, Switzerland is banning the importation of iron and steel goods from Russia and most transactions with the Russian financial sector.

Sanctions Effects and Enforcement

Japan to Amend Foreign Exchange Law to Block Russia’s Sanctions Evasion Attempts. Top Japanese government officials announced the country is amending its foreign exchange law to prevent Russia from using crypto assets to circumvent international economic sanctions. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said the government will propose a revision of the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act to the current parliament session to strengthen protections against potential sanction evasion by Russia through digital assets. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also backed the law’s amendment, stressing the need for coordinated moves with international allies.

Estonia Imposes Measures to Prevent Russian Oligarchs from Laundering Money. Madis Muller, governor of Estonia’s central bank, said the country's financial institutions and authorities introduced sweeping measures to prevent Russian oligarchs from laundering funds in the country. Muller said Estonia’s banks and authorities are working to curb the flow of illicit funds after the country’s reputation was tainted by the 2017-2018 Danske Bank money-laundering scandal.

Companies Fear Paying Rent on Moscow Offices in Abramovich-Linked Buildings. According to the Financial Times, several western companies still operating in Russia are struggling to determine whether paying rent on their Moscow offices would breach sanctions because of potential links to an investment vehicle of prominent Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. Banks Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley, tobacco groups Imperial Brands and British American Tobacco, and law firms Baker McKenzie and Dentons are some of the tenants at Moscow properties that form part of the portfolio of Abramovich’s Millhouse investment group.

Sanctions Outlook

Russia’s Supply of Icebreaker Ships in Question. Sanctions threaten Russia’s Arctic gas ambitions with foreign firms potentially unable to deliver the specialized vessels needed to ship the fuel from projects in the Arctic. Companies with contracts to supply equipment include Samsung Heavy Industries, Hyundai Heavy Industries, and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering. The Korean suppliers told the Financial Times they intended to honor their contracts but subcontractors in Europe may cease deliveries. The FT highlighted one vital European supplier: Gaztransport & Technigaz, the world’s sole supplier of maritime containment tanks for LNG, high-tech receptacles that are needed to store the fuel safely and in large volumes at extreme low temperatures. The Paris-listed company said it is sticking by its Russian activities while it assesses whether they comply with sanctions.