Yesterday (2 March 2014) US Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the USA is considering imposing sanctions against Russia for what the Obama administration has described as “a brazen act of aggression” in Ukraine.

Mr Kerry said on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ that “there are visa bans, asset freezes, isolation with respect to trade, investment… American businesses may well want to start thinking twice about whether they want to do business with a country that behaves like this. These are serious implications.”  He also said that the nations of the G8 are “prepared to put sanctions in place.  They’re prepared to isolate Russia economically…every single one of them are prepared to go to the hilt in order to isolate Russia.”

The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, has announced that there will be an extraordinary meeting of EU Heads of State in Brussels this Thursday (6 March) to discuss the situation in Ukraine.  The Telegraph reports that EU foreign ministers are discussing whether to call Russia’s seizure of Crimea an “invasion” or a “clear violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Ukraine, and will warn Russia that unless it pulls back then sanctions will follow. See our previous blog on the EU’s announcement of sanctions against those responsible for the violence in Ukraine and the Joint Proposal of the European Commission and Council of a Council Regulation on 24 February 2014.

The British Government has not announced whether there will be EU sanctions. Foreign Minister William Hague has said that “If Russia cannot be persuaded to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, there will have to be other consequences and other costs. I am not going to set out today what all of those are. We will act in a united way with other nations in the world.”  A spokesman for the British Prime Minister David Cameron stated: “When it comes to the next steps around what the costs may be, the right thing is for there to be discussions – as there are – with our international partners in the G7 and EU…The only avenue that is being pursued is a peaceful and diplomatic one, and I think our G7 partners have been very clear about that as well.” A leaked document suggests that the British Government may be in favour of targeted sanctions (visa bans and asset freezes) but not broader trade sanctions against Russia.  The FT has analysed the likelihood of different kinds of sanctions being imposed.

Russia’s Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov commented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva that “Those who are trying to interpret the situation as a sort of aggression and threatening us with sanctions and boycotts, these are the same partners who have been consistently and vigorously encouraging the political powers close to them to declare ultimatums and renounce dialogue… We call upon them to show a responsibility and to set aside geopolitical calculations and put the interests of the Ukrainian people above all.”

This entry was posted in Latest EU Measures, USA by Maya Lester. Bookmark the permalink.

About Maya Lester

Maya Lester is recommended in the legal directories as a leading junior in the fields of Administrative & Public Law, Competition & European Law, Civil Liberties & Human Rights. She was selected by The Times as one of the 10 Future Stars of the Bar in 2008, and was nominated in 2010 and 2011 for Competition/EU Junior of the Year at Chambers Bar Awards. She has particular expertise in European Union and United Nations targeted sanctions, and has represented hundreds of designated individuals and companies in the European courts. She has extensive experience of all areas of Competition and European Union law, including in relation to regulatory investigations, abuse of dominance, cartels, free movement, fundamental rights and freedoms, actions for annulment in the General Court, and references to the Court of Justice. She is described as "stellar" (Chambers & Partners 2013), "fiercely bright and hardworking" (Legal 500 2012), and a "top-notch performer" (Chambers & Partners 2011). In her wide ranging Public Law, Human Rights and Public International Law practice, Maya Lester regularly appears for and advises individuals, companies, government departments, regulators and public interest groups. She is a member of the Attorney General's B Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown and Freedom of Information Panel, and is vetted for National Security work. She is described as "a fantastic junior" in Administrative & Public Law, and "clearly very bright and focused" with "great attention to detail". Maya Lester is regularly involved in cases of an international nature, having been educated at Yale Law School (after Cambridge University), Columbia Law School (New York) as a Visiting Scholar, has spent time working at the European Court of Justice and is currently a Bingham Centre Fellow researching targeted sanctions regimes.

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