House of Lords select committee reports on sanctions against Russia

February 24, 2015

Posted on February 23rd, 2015 by Maya Lester on

On 20 February 2015, the House of Lords EU Select Committee published a report "The EU and Russia: before and beyond the crisis in Ukraine" in which it reviewed the EU's sanctions policy against Russia in response to its actions in Ukraine.

The Committee heard evidence that sanctions were having an impact on the Russian economy (in conjunction with falling oil prices), on the EU economy, and on oligarchs and businessmen, but had not so far changed President Putin's policies in Ukraine.  An unintended consequence was that the Government was using sanctions to call Russians "to rally around the flag". Evidence suggested that they should be called sanctions against 'the regime' rather than against Russia.

The report suggests that if the situation in eastern Ukraine continues to deteriorate, "the EU should find ways of targeting individuals close to President Putin and consider broadening sectoral sanctions into the Russian financial sector". The Committee noted that although EU and US sanctions have broadly been aligned, the US has targeted individuals close to the Russian government which the EU had not done, and welcomes EU Member States "uniting around an ambitious package of sanctions on Russia". Sanctions "need to be part of an overall strategy of diplomacy and a political process", which the Committee says is not yet in place, and that there was frustration in the EU that its offer of dialogue was not reciprocated by Russia. It suggests that while sanctions could be renewed in the short term, their progressive removal in return for "genuine progress by Russia in delivering the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine" should be part of the EU negotiating strategy.

A list of sanctions in force against Russia is on the "sanctions in force" section of this blog.

End notes

This article first appeared on European Sanctions Law & Practice (, a blog by Maya Lester (+44 20 7379 3550,, a barrister at Brick Court Chambers, and Michael O'Kane (+44 (0) 20 7822 7777, head of Business Crime at Peters & Peters.