Following the announcement of the suspension of extant licences and application processing for export to Russia by the Foreign Secretary in March 2014, BIS has updated certain military Open General Export Licences (OGELs) to add Russia as a prohibited country. Other EU Member States, such as Germany, have taken similar steps.
As is widely known, the recent events in the Ukraine and Russia's annexation of Crimea have led the EU to impose sanctions against natural and legal persons deemed responsible for the escalation of violence and the current politically unstable situation in the Ukraine.
European Union (EU) Council Decision 2014/1451 and Council Regulation 269/20142 imposed restrictive measures against several individuals and companies found responsible for actively supporting or implementing actions or policies which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, or stability or security in Ukraine, or which obstruct the work of international organisations in Ukraine, and of natural persons associated with them.
The sanctions comprise travel bans and freezing of funds and economic resources of listed entities, as well as an erga omes prohibition of making funds and economic resources (directly or indirectly) available to these designated parties. The EU has also suspended bilateral talks with Russia on visa matters and on a replacement to the EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.3
For these reasons, the Foreign Secretary announced in March 2014 that the UK would suspend all extant licences and application processing for direct export to Russia (or export to third countries for incorporation into equipment for export to Russia) of military and dual-use items destined for units of the Russian armed forces or other state agencies, which could be or are being deployed against Ukraine.4
As a consequence, the Export Control Organisation (ECO) of the UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills' (BIS) added Russia to the list of prohibited destinations for OGEL – Export for Repair/Replacement under Warranty and OGEL – Military Goods and Military Goods: for Demonstration. Most recently, on 11 June 2014, BIS also added Russia as prohibited country to OGEL – Export After Exhibition or Demonstration: Military Goods. The latter also applies to Russian military items exhibited at Farnborough International Airshow.
The changes follow a suspension, earlier this year, of all export licensing to the Ukraine for any equipment that might be used for internal repression.5 Similar steps were also taken in other EU Member States. For instance Germany excluded Russia and the Ukraine (as well as Egypt, Thailand, and Venezuela) from the scope of allowed countries in several general dual-use and military licenses.6
Companies which have any of the above-mentioned OGELs must ensure their systems are updated to stop all exports to or for Russia under these licenses. Going forward, those exports require a Standard Individual Export Licence (SIEL).
As a quick reminder, users of OGELs or OIELs needs to ensure compliance, if it has not been done already, with the updated reporting requirements that apply to a variety of military and dual-use general licenses as of 2014, and that BIS announced earlier this year.7
1. Council Decision 2014/145/CFSP of 17 March 2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, OJ 2014 L78/16.
2. Council Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 of 17 March 2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, OJ 2014 L78/6.
3. Statement of the Heads of State or Government on Ukraine, Brussels, 6 March 2014,
4. General licenses No 9 – graphite, No. 12 – low value dual-use items, Nr. 13 – certain dual-use items, Nr. 16 – telecommunication equipment, No 18 – signature repressing cloths and equipment, and No 25 – certain military items.
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