On 19 June 2020 the European Union (“EU”) agreed to extend their economic sanctions against Russia for a further six-months (until 1 January 2021) for its role in the conflict in Ukraine. The sanctions will continue to cover Russia’s banking, financial and energy sectors and will heavily restrict the state’s access to the EU capital markets, importation and exportation of trade in arms, exportation of military goods and access to certain technologies.
‘Sanctions’ or restrictive measures (including those described above) can be imposed by the EU against a state as a measure of intervention to “prevent conflict or respond to actual or emerging crises”, with the objective of promoting international peace and security; preventing conflicts; defending democratic principles and human rights; preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destructions and fighting terrorism.
In the case of Russia, economic sanctions were initially imposed by the EU in July and September 2014 in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and turmoil in Ukraine. Various other restrictive measures including diplomatic and individual restrictive measures have also been imposed on the state since 2014.
It is hoped that by extending the economic sanctions against Russia, greater efforts will be made to implement the 2015 Minsk agreement to broker peace between Russia and Ukraine.
Before now, the economic sanctions were due to expire on 31 July 2020, having been extended for successive six-month periods since 1 July 2016. Following the announcement on Friday, Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, was recorded on Twitter as having said that the “sanctions send a clear signal: Russia needs to fully implement [the Minsk] agreements”.
Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, also stated that “The progress (on the Minsk accords) is not one that would allow us to recommend against extending sanctions against Russia”.
As mentioned above, restrictive measures may also be imposed against individuals and entities of a particular state. Such measures can include asset freezing and travel bans which often involve strict, complex rules which must be complied with but may be challenged by way of written representations to the Council of the EU or an application for annulment to the General Court of the EU.
Thomas Garner heads up the team at Gherson that has successfully engaged with both the UK and EU authorities and brought legal proceedings at the General Court of the EU in order to secure the permanent removal of several prominent individuals from the EU sanctions lists in recent years. If you require any assistance in respect of these matters, please contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.
Solicitor in our corporate and complex case teams