The General Court of the EU has rejected an application to annul the inclusion of Dmitrii Kiselev on the EU’s restrictive measures. Judgment here; Case T-262/15 Kiselev v Council. Mr Kiselev was included in March 2014 on the EU’s asset freezing & travel ban measures for being a State-appointed propagandist supporting the deployment of Russian forces in Ukraine. The Court has held (in summary) that:
- The EU’s Russia sanctions do not breach the EU / Russia Partnership Agreement because Russia’s actions in Ukraine fall within the exceptions for “war or serious international tension constituting threat of war”.
- The phrase “active support” for the Russian Government’s actions in Ukraine should be interpreted as referring to “persons who – without being themselves responsible for the actions and policies of the Russian Government destabilising Ukraine and without themselves implementing those actions or policies – provide support for those policies or actions” and covers only forms of support which are significant enough to “contribute to the continuance of” Russia’s “actions and policies destabilising Ukraine”.
- Including Mr Kiselev was a justified and proportionate restriction on his freedom of expression. He had given active support by portraying events in Ukraine in a light favourable to the Russian Government. Less restrictive measures such as a system of prior authorisation would not have been as effective in pursuing the aim of “bringing pressure to bear on Russia’s decision-makers responsible for the situation in Ukraine”.