EU court rules Russia sanctions over Ukraine are valid

The logo of Russia's Rosneft oil company is pictured at the central processing facility of the Rosneft-owned Priobskoye oil field outside the West Siberian city of Nefteyugansk, Russia, August 4, 2016.

Rosneft, an oil company partially owned by the Russian state, then challenged, before the High Court of Justice (England & Wales), "the validity under European Union law of the restrictive measures imposed by the council on it and the implementing measures adopted by the United Kingdom that are based on the council acts", according to a court media statement.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) said in a statement on March 28 that "restrictive response to the crisis in Ukraine against certain Russian undertakings, including Rosneft, are valid".

The EU slapped sanctions on Russian Federation after it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and stepped them up as Moscow went on to support a separatist rebellion in Ukraine's industrial east.

The measures hampered Rosneft Oil's ability to do business since they included a ban on oil exploration in the Arctic and in water deeper than 150 meters, both of which the company relied on to extract oil.

"The objective of the measures adopted by the Council is to increase the cost of the actions taken by Russian Federation to undermine the sovereignty of Ukraine", a court statement added.

"The Court holds that the importance of the objectives pursued by the contested acts is such as to justify certain operators being adversely affected".

Rosneft said it was "disappointed" by the court's decision. "This ruling proves that the supremacy of political enviroment is appearing to replace the supremacy of law in Europe", the statement released on the oil company's website reads. The stated goal of the sanctions was to increase the costs of the action of the Russian Federation taken to undermine Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence, and to promote a peaceful settlement of the crisis.

  • Leroy Wright