While the EU sanctions regime on Russian targets has proved to be resilient and stable, having survived unaltered for as many as five years, it currently finds itself in a state of stagnation. While member states have sustained the measures that were adopted in 2014, they are unprepared to escalate them. This reticence is observable in the differences between EU and US responses to the most recent crises. Washington has been upgrading its sanctions measures gradually since the spring of 2018, most recently in reaction to the poisoning of two British citizens of Russian origin in Salisbury, interference in US domestic politics via cyberattacks, the Azov Sea incidents and Russian military actions in Syria. Despite Washington's habitual pressure on the EU to follow suit, Brussels has so far refrained from replicating any of these bans. Instead, it has moved to adopt horizontal sanctions, i.e. thematic blacklists designed to include individuals and entities responsible for breaching a specific norm. The first horizontal list concerns the use of chemical weapons. Shortly after its adoption in 2018, it saw the designation of the Salisbury suspects, alongside a Syrian laboratory and some scientist who had already been listed under the EU sanctions regime on Syria.