Sanctioned Goods Worth €450 Million Slip Through to Russia

Written by Camilla Jessen

Feb.27 - 2024 8:40 AM CET

Photo: Trong Nguyen /
Photo: Trong Nguyen /
Despite strict sanctions, Russia imported sanctioned goods worth 450 million euros from the EU in 2023.

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Sanctioned goods worth 450 million euros were imported from the European Union to Russia in the first nine months of 2023, and a quarter of them came directly from EU member states, which indicates the presence of gaps in the sanctions regime.

This was reported by the Bloomberg agency with reference to informed European officials.

According to internal EU data, direct official trade of most sanctioned goods between the EU and Russia fell after the start of the full-scale war in Ukraine, and the export of these goods to third countries increased sharply.

Among them, Bloomberg cites Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia and China, as well as Russia's neighbors Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia.

Navigating Sanctions: Loopholes and Legal Exceptions

The article states that sanctioned goods continue to enter the Russian Federation due to gaps in the European Union's sanctions regime. Bloomberg's interlocutors believe that member states and companies are consciously or unconsciously doing too little to stop trade with the aggressor country.

EU data also indicate that subsidiaries and subcontractors of some European firms operating abroad produce sanctioned goods and export them to Russia through intermediaries.

At the same time, EU rules allow some exceptions for the export of dual-use goods to Russia for reasons such as humanitarian need, health emergencies, natural disasters and medical use.

From the data reviewed by Bloomberg, it follows that from the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine to December 2023, a number of EU member states issued permits for such exports in the amount of more than 560 million euros and rejected - in the amount of more than 2 billion euros.

Earlier it also became known that hundreds of millions of pounds worth of British equipment and machinery continue to reach Russia through the countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia, including Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Uzbekistan.