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EUREN Policy Brief 1
I
The State of EU Sanctions on Russia

In March 2019, the EU blacklisted eight Russian officials involved in the detention of Ukrainian seamen and the seizure of their vessels in the Kerch Strait connecting the Black Sea with the Sea of Azov last November, demanding their release. The officials were added to a blacklist featuring those individuals responsible for the destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine since 2014.1 In turn, this blacklist is part of one of three different sanctions packages addressing distinct aspects of the 2014 Ukraine crisis. The first sanctions package is a response to the destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine and includes the suspension of high-level contacts and the blacklisting of individuals and entities. Since the summer of 2014, it has also entailed restrictions on access to the EU's capital markets for certain Russian banks and companies, an arms embargo, and limits on access to some technologies and services for oil production and exploration. The lifting of this sanctions regime was later linked to the full implementation of the accord that was reached in the context of the mediation talks held in Minsk, or the Minsk Agreements, which are still pending. A second separate sanctions regime consists of an economic embargo on Crimea, and a third froze the assets of the officials responsible for the misappropriation of Ukrainian state funds. The present contribution aims to contextualize this complex set of EU measures on Russian targets in the framework of its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). It will then review the current state of the sanctions regime and their sustainability before sketching some ideas as to how the current impasse could be surmounted.

Introduction

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Clara Portela participated in the 9th EUREN meeting on "Digital transformation and connectivity: prospects for economic interaction between the EU and Russia in times of sanctions" on 28 February/1 March in Moscow. This paper is based on her presentation. Its content is the sole responsibility of the author and does not represent the position of individual EUREN members or EUREN as a group.

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