Stack of Russian Rubles

Russia and Belarus Sanctions

Author - Freya Thompson

Date published:

Asset Freezes and Ban of All Dual-Use Items to Russia

On Thursday 24th March, the UK announced what Boris Johnson is calling a “first barrage” of new sanctions on Russia due to its aggression towards Ukraine. You can read all about the sanctions here. These include asset freezes, a ban on Russian private companies raising finance on the UK financial markets, and export bans of all dual-use items to Russia. ‘Dual-use’ signifies items which could have civilian or military purposes, and these include high-end tech, electronics, telecoms and aerospace. You can assess your products to determine whether or not they are controlled and are subject to this suspension here and read the changes to open general export licenses here.

Sanctions on Belarus have since been announced, on Wednesday 2nd of March, due to the country’s role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Currently, however, these sanctions only apply to the Belarusian Chief of the General Staff, three other deputy defence ministers, and two military enterprises. Individuals will be unable to travel to the UK and any UK-based assets will be frozen. You can read more about the Belarus sanctions here.

As of Thursday 21st April, there are now sanctions on iron and street product imports from Russian and Belarus, and not exports of oil refining goods, quantum computing, advanced materials technology and luxury goods.

It is important that you ensure your business activities are compliant with the current sanctions against Russia and seek legal advice if necessary. The situation is expected to develop over the coming days and weeks, so you should continue to check the guidance pages listed below to understand the potential impact on your business and any action you may need to take:

Companies doing business with countries subject to sanctions must accept the risks of doing so, just as they accept other political and market risks. The Department for International Trade suggests that you take legal advice if you suspect your business could be impacted.

If you are planning to trade with Russia, you should check if your product is on the export ban list, which can be found in the Russian Sanctions: Guidance document.


Additional Duties on Russian and Belarus Imports

On Tuesday 15th March, the UK government announced additional duties on a number of Russian and Belarusian imports. See further information in the press release about additional duties on Russian and Belarusian imports.

Products requiring additional duties when imported from Russia or Belarus



If you have a question about trading with Ukraine, Russia or Belarus you can ask the government export support team online or call 0300 303 8955.

Members are able to contact the Chambers International team via [email protected]

Support is also available via a dedicated DIT support team either online or via phone.

Consular support is available to British nationals in Ukraine and Russia: 

You can stay up to date with the latest government notifications on export controls by signing up to the Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) e-alert service.


Trade Statistics

The 2020 North East – Russia trade figure is £310m. This is made up of £150m exports (primarily machinery and transport at £116m, of which £39m was power generating machinery and £20m was road vehicles), and £156m imports (primarily £67m mineral fuels and related good, of which £64 was petroleum).

Meanwhile, the North East’s trade figure with Ukraine was £175m in 2020. This is made up of just £9m of exports (primarily £4.7m of chemicals, of which £1.9m were medicinal) and £106m imports (primarily manufactured good at £95m, of which £91m was in iron and steel).


John McCabe, chief executive of the Chamber said: “Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine. The current situation there is a stark reminder of how global issues can make a negative impact on our local businesses, no matter what the geographical distance.  We will all expect to feel the consequences of what is being played out in terms of rising energy prices, supply chain problems and uncertainty in some marketplaces.”


Photo by Андрей Сизов on Unsplash

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