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EU’s Highest Court Upholds Sanctions Against Russia’s Rosneft

The European Court of Justice, Europe’s top court, on Tuesday ruled that sanctions imposed by the UK and the EU on Russia’s oil giant Rosneft are valid, in a ruling that also asserts the court’s jurisdiction over the common policy of the European Union (EU).

The EU imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014 over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, with economic sanctions slapped in July 2014 and reinforced in September 2014, including against certain Russian companies that include Rosneft.

Rosneft had challenged before the High Court of Justice (England & Wales) the validity, in the light of EU law, of the restrictive measures imposed by the European Council on it and the implementing measures adopted by the United Kingdom that are based on the Council acts. The European Court of Justice was asked to rule, in essence, if the acts of the Council and the United Kingdom are valid.

In its ruling published today, the court said that “The restrictive measures adopted by the Council in response to the crisis in Ukraine against certain Russian undertakings, including Rosneft, are valid.”

“The Court holds that the importance of the objectives pursued by the contested acts is such as to justify certain operators being adversely affected. Having regard to the fact that the restrictive measures adopted by the Council in reaction to the crisis in Ukraine have become progressively more severe, interference with Rosneft’s freedom to conduct a business and its right to property cannot be considered to be disproportionate,” the court said.

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Following the court ruling, Rosneft issued a statement in which it said it was disappointed by the ruling, and that it considers the court decision “illegal, groundless and politicized”.

This decision proves that in Europe the rule of law is being substituted with the rule of politics,” said Rosneft, whose chief executive Igor Sechin is a close ally of Vladimir Putin.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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