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Latest sanctions to have minimal impact on Russian defence industry

Sanctions imposed against Russian entities as a result of Moscow's ordering of troops into the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine are unlikely to have an impact on Russia's defence industrial base – a sector that has adapted to measures imposed by Western governments since the occupation of Crimea in 2014.

Measures have been progressively applied against the crown jewels of Russia's defence industrial base for much of the last decade. The EU and the US have acted to cut Moscow's military and banking organisations off from financial markets to reduce access to credit, investment, and instruments necessary for international trade.

Embargoes have also been used to stop the supply of military and dual-use equipment to Russia, in addition to measures to stop technical assistance and the transfer of technology.

The EU's measures against Russia were framed primarily through Council Decision 2014/512/CFSP and Council Regulation (EU) No 833/2014. These have been extended periodically since 2014, most recently at the start of this year for six months to the end of July 2022.

While EU measures have specifically targeted major Russian state-controlled defence assets such as aerospace group United Aircraft Corporation and land systems developer UralVagonZavod, US measures went further and targeted virtually the whole Russian defence industrial base.

US sanctions applicable to Russia (plus Iran and North Korea) were codified in 2017 into a new instrument –the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

EU sanctions in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea guillotined a series of collaborations and defence trade agreements between Moscow and Western countries.

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