The European Union has lifted sanctions on three Russian businessmen and one Russian government official amid legal setbacks.
The move was announced in a press release published by the European Council on September 13, although officials did not name the men taken off the list nor why they have been removed.
According to the Financial Times, anonymous EU officials have since confirmed that the men removed from the list were businessmen Grigory Berezkin, Farkhad Akhmedov and Alexander Shulgin.
Russian military officer Georgy Shuvaev also had his name removed from the list after he reportedly died last year.
Media outlets have speculated that the three businessmen were removed in part due to recent legal challenges levelled against the bloc, with the sanctions against Shulgin being ruled as unjustified by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on September 7.
The Russian ruble has hit its lowest point since the beginning of the war in Ukraine as Western sanctions are seeming to squeeze the Russian economy. https://t.co/nCmyUXVcBu
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) August 15, 2023
Eurocrats insisted that anti-Russia sanctions would be extended for the rest of the almost 1,800 entities and individuals identified by the bloc since the country’s invasion of mainland Ukraine in February 2022.
“The existing restrictive measures provide for travel restrictions for natural persons, the freezing of assets and a ban on making funds or other economic resources available to the listed individuals and entities,” the Council said.
The extension is now set to last an additional six months and is due to expire on March 15, 2024.
According to Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency, more than 60 Russian businesspeople have filed lawsuits in the ECJ against the sanctions.
They claim that their fundamental rights are being violated by the EU and that their assets within the bloc have been illegally frozen.
Vehicles belonging to Russian tourists in Germany are reportedly being seized by authorities as part of EU sanctions. https://t.co/zxWfPK7Ogw
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) July 12, 2023