Updated 12 April, 2022: New import (oil and other energy products) and export (specified luxury products) prohibitions.
Australia is imposing autonomous sanctions on Russia in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Australians and Australian entities engaging in activities captured by the sanctions measures must either cease their activities, or apply to the Minister for Foreign Affairs for a sanctions permit to continue their activities.
This article explores the key considerations as outlined by the Australian government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
What is prohibited by the Russia sanctions regime?
The Russia sanctions regime imposes: restrictions on the export or supply of certain goods; restrictions on the import, purchase or transport of certain goods; restrictions on certain commercial activities; restrictions on the provision of certain services; restrictions on providing assets to designated persons or entities; restrictions on dealing with the assets of designated persons or entities; and travel bans on designated persons.
Restrictions on the export or supply of certain goods
It is prohibited to directly or indirectly supply, sell or transfer to Russia:
- Arms or related material.
- Items suited for use in specific categories of oil exploration or oil production projects in Russia.
Arms or related material includes weapons, ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, and spare parts and accessories for any of those things. It also includes paramilitary equipment.
Commencing on 7 April, 2022, Australia prohibited the supply, sale or transfer of certain luxury goods directly or indirectly to, for use in, or for the benefit of Russia.
Restrictions on the import, purchase or transport of certain goods
It is prohibited to import, purchase or transport arms or related materiel if they originate in or have been exported from Russia.
From 25 April, 2022, Australia will prohibit the import of oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas, coal and other energy products from Russia.
Restrictions on certain commercial activities
It is prohibited to deal with financial instruments issued by, or providing loans or credit to:
- Specified publicly‐owned or controlled Russian banks.
- Specified Russian companies predominantly engaged in activities relating to military equipment or services.
- Specified publicly‐owned or controlled Russian companies involved in the sale or transport of crude oil or petroleum products.
- Majority owned subsidiaries or entities acting as agents for any of the above.
Restrictions on the provision of certain services
It is also prohibited to provide services which relate to sanctioned goods or activities, including:
- Services which relate to the supply of arms or related material to Russia.
- Investment services which relate to sanctioned commercial activities.
- Services to Russia, or for use in Russia, which relate to a military activity, or the manufacture, maintenance or use of arms or related material.
- Certain services to Russia (or to a person or entity for use in Russia) that are necessary for specified types of oil exploration or production projects in Russia.
Restrictions on providing assets to designated persons or entities
It is prohibited to provide any kind of assets to designated persons or entities outlined on the Consolidated List.
Restrictions on dealing with the assets of designated persons or entities (requirement to freeze assets)
The Minister for Foreign Affairs may designate a person or entity for targeted financial sanctions if:
- The Minister is satisfied that the person or entity is responsible for, or complicit in, the threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
- The Minister is satisfied that the person or entity is, or has been, engaging in an activity or performing a function that is of economic or strategic significance to Russia.
- The person is a current or former Minister or senior official of the Russian Government.
- The person is an immediate family member of a person mentioned above.
It is prohibited to make an asset available to a designated person or entity, to use or deal with an asset, or allow or facilitate another person to use or deal with an asset, owned or controlled by a designated person or entity.
If you become aware that you are holding an asset of a designated person or entity, you are required to freeze (hold) that asset and notify the AFP as soon as possible.
Travel bans on declared persons
The Minister for Foreign Affairs may declare a person for a travel ban if they meet the above criteria for the requirement to freeze assets.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs may grant a sanctions permit to allow an activity that would otherwise be prohibited under the sanctions regime provided the activity meets specific criteria, such as being in the national interest.