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2023-02-10

EU Member States must fully comply with EU sanctions on Russia

The International Association for Democracy (IAD) calls on EU Member States to fully comply with EU sanctions packages, without granting exceptions on a case-by-case basis. The unprovoked and unjustified Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to unprecedented losses in Ukraine, and any further exception from existing rules can lead to further losses, including human lives.

The broad sanctions packages enforced by EU against Russian entities, through eight consecutive packages, cover aspects related to the financial sector, energy, transport, defence, raw materials and other goods, media, or the overall economy. While IAD considers that a total ban on Russian oil and gas is needed to stop financing the Russian army, with the EU paying Russia more than €118 billion since the start of the war, it is evermore important to strengthen the existing sanctions in order to avoid further financing of the Russian war. 

Media reports from NL Times have indicated that, only in one EU Member States -  Netherlands -  there have been 91 waivers to sanctions against Russia, issued by the Dutch government. Such exceptions referred to relations with Russian banks owned by the state, frozen assets or goods, energy companies that do business with the Russian Gazprom, or humanitarian grounds.

At the same time, current EU sanctions packages include, for instance, derogations for Member States that want to authorise payments to the Crimean Sea Ports or to authorise the release of certain frozen funds or economic resources for specific Russian (state-owned) entities.

A specific problem in relation to EU sanctions shows that concerned countries proved incapable of enforcing judgments related to frozen Russian assets in the EU or even substantiating the continued need to keep those targeted on a sanctions list. In July 2022, the EU had frozen €13.8 billion worth Russian assets. However, this is a sum that remains untouched in the EU due to legal constraints.

The illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine needs to be further contained by the EU, its Member States, and other liberal democracies across the world. Economic cooperation with the criminal regime in Moscow will extend the already tremendous losses suffered by Ukraine and by Ukrainian citizens. Funding the Russian war will only further support atrocities committed by the Russian army in occupied Ukrainian territories.

Further work in the EU needs to fully align to the recent resolution adopted by the European Parliament, declaring Russia to be a state sponsor of terrorism, as well as coordinated actions across EU Member States on preventing, investigating and prosecuting circumventions of current sanctions.


International Association for Democracy