Changes to the sanctions restrictions on Russia: is it worth reacting?

January 8, 2021

On January 1, 2021, some changes to the sanctions restrictions against Russia due to the occupied Crimea came into force, which was made by the UK, according to which ships will be able to pay for services rendered by Crimean ports. What consequences can Ukraine expect, and is it worth the domestic authorities to react to these actions? Experts told about it.

”The formal reasons for the adoption by Great Britain on January 1, 2021 of its own regulations on some deviations from the Crimean sanctions were explained by diplomats of Ukraine and the United Kingdom. They are that until 2021 for the UK as a member of the EU, similar deviations introduced in the sanctions resolution 269/2014 concerning certain Crimean ports and" enterprises. And now, diplomats say, these deviations have been introduced into British national legislation”,- commented Borys Babin, an expert of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center.

Lawyer Bohdan Ustymenko explained that the difference between the British position and the EU's is that Britain has not established at all what are the so-called humanitarian calls to Crimean ports. The list of Crimean port services that can be used with impunity in the event of a humanitarian ship call has also been determined. In contrast, the British document uses the phrase “any persons”. Therefore, in theory, any person can enter the Crimean ports in order to receive port services.

“These circumstances, in their totality, gave rise to numerous media and public reports about the actual easing of the British sanctions regime, in contrast to the restrictions imposed by the EU”,- Ustymenko summed up.

This is where the main problem lies. Already now, the Russian media have started writing about the de facto recognition of the annexation of Crimea, which in fact, of course, did not happen, since no fundamentally new norms have appeared in the international assessment of Crimea. Moreover, the Ukrainian diplomats themselves began to make statements about this that do not correspond to reality.

“In particular, Article 2 of EU Decision 2017/1561 contains a list of actions of individuals and legal entities that are not subject to the specified EU sanctions regime. In particular, the satisfaction of basic needs in the ports of Crimea – the purchase of food, medicines, payment for treatment. what other innovations are not in question. Great Britain supports the preservation of the EU sanctions regime against the Russian Federation and in no way weakens the existing restrictions”,- the website of the Ukrainian Embassy in the UK says.

What are we talking about? The British did not even mention any "medicines" and "nutrition" in their sanctions.

“But we shouldn't be silent about these steps of Her Majesty's government, or pretend that everything is wonderful. After all, if these sanctions innovations are a pure formality, then the question arises why the UK is so scrupulously reproducing the deviation from EU sanctions, which in In general, in the EU, each country could (but should not) have introduced these deviations only by notifying all other EU countries and the European Commission. But now the UK will only notify God of the corresponding one-time deviations. -What a negative trend is still visible”,- added Babin.

International lawyer Bohdan Ustymenko believes that the bureaucratic apparatus of Great Britain is now working in a stressful mode, which is caused by the well-known Brexit, the actual transition of the whole country to new bureaucratic “rails”. In his opinion, the British simply did not pay due attention to this issue, and they will be able to correct the mistake on the corresponding official request of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

But the problem is that the speaker of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Oleh Nykolenko, has already stated that reports of alleged weakening of sanctions against the Russian Federation by London are just another Russian insinuations. Of course, there is no talk of correcting the error.

“If we continue to make self-soothing statements so as not to spoil the" beautiful pictures, it is unlikely that this will guarantee the preservation of the Crimean sanctions in the current volume. This, on the contrary, requires serious, both public and other work of diplomats. Also, if Ukraine does not reconsider its information and maritime policy related to Crimea, then significant threats are formed, that many issues will be resolved without taking into account our opinion”,- said Borys Babin.