31 March 2023 Issue 2 Helen Swire

Unhappy anniversary

A year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Helen Swire looks into the impact and unexpected consequences

A date that few would have expected to see in Europe in 2023: the first anniversary of one European country invading another, nearly 80 years after the end of World War II. On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine in an act of unprovoked aggression that has triggered a crisis on an international scale.

The ramifications of the invasion have echoed globally, beyond the terrible consequences for the Ukrainian people. For many families, soaring energy prices have led to cost‑of‑living crises and, on a governmental scale, countries have examined what support they can give on balance with a potential escalation of the situation.

Following long negotiations, NATO countries have agreed to send additional aid in weaponry to Ukraine. And in a further sign that the wider world is prepared to commit to a ‘side’ of the conflict, the Council of the European Union stated on 3 February 2023 that it is pledging to deepen its relationship with Ukraine, with the future of the country lying ‘within the European Union’.[1]

Burden of proof

Alongside the wider effects of the invasion, governments globally are reacting by cracking down wherever possible on Russian‑held assets through sanctions and increased compliance burdens.

As a result of the invasion, for example, the UK government has hugely increased its regulatory agenda through the introduction of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill in September 2022. The Bill implements a register of overseas entities, gives government and law enforcement agencies greater oversight of companies and tightens registration and transparency requirements for various entities and providers of trust and legal services. It follows the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022, fast‑tracked through Parliament in March 2022 in response to the invasion.

Please login to access this content

If you are not a member, find out more about joining STEP or subscribing to STEP articles.