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Since March 2014, the EU and US have progressively imposed restrictive measures against Russia, in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea from The Ukraine.  These sanctions take the form of an asset freeze imposed on named individuals/entities, trade embargoes and restricting access to key sectors of the Russian economy.

Russia responded to these sanctions by implementing a trade embargo regarding the import of certain agricultural products from the US, Canada, the EU, Norway and Australia.


It is prohibited under EU sanctions (EU Reg. 692/2014 as amended by EU Reg. 825/2014 and EU Reg.1351/2014): 

  • to import goods originating in Crimea to the EU (or to provide insurance in respect of such trades)
  •  for cruise ships to call at Crimean ports
  • to supply key equipment for use in the transport, telecommunication and energy sectors or the exploitation/production of oil/gas and mineral resources in Crimea.                                                         


The following sectoral based sanctions have been imposed by EU Reg.833/2014 as amended by EU Reg. 960/2014 and EU Reg.1290/2014 targeting specific sectors of the economy:

  • prohibition on the supply of dual use or military goods/technology to anybody in Russia or for use in Russia
  • prior authorisationis required to provide equipment/technology for deep-water (more than 150 metres) or arctic oil exploration/production and shale oil projects
  • prohibition on providing 'associated services' ie drilling, well testing, logging/completion services and the supply of specialised floating vessels (excluding supply/support vessels) in respect of the above projects
  • prohibition on Russian state-owned banks accessing EU financial markets

It is prohibited (under Executive Order no. 13685) for US persons to:

  • export any goods to/from Crimea
  • provide financing to certain Russian banks and companies

It is also prohibited to export goods/services or technology to support oil exploration/production for deep water, Arctic offshore or shale projects in Russia (under Directive 4, issued pursuant to Executive Order no. 13662). This legislation targets activities between US persons and individuals/entities named on the US Sectoral Sanctions Identification (SSI) List which includes Russian energy companies (such as Lukoil, Gazprom, Rosneft, etc). 

On 2 August 2017, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) came into effect, which expands US sanctions against Russia.  Section 223(d) of CAATSA expands the application of Directive 4 (issued under Executive Order 13662) as it prohibits US persons from providing goods, services or technology in support of deep water, Arctic offshore or shale projects that:

  • (i) were initiated on or after 29 January 2018
  • (ii) have the potential to produce oil anywhere in the world, ie not just Russia
  • (iii) involve one or more persons on the SSI List who have a 33% or greater ownership interest or own a majority of the voting interests in the project.

Further details can be found in our web alert here.

We remind members that are considering trading to Russia or the Ukraine that they will need to exercise due diligence to ensure that the trade or operation is not subject to sanctions and that they do not trade with individuals or entities that are named on the EU or US sanctions lists. We strongly recommend that members should seek independent legal advice if they have any concerns. 

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