Disinfo: EU sanctions are against the standards and spirit of international law


Expanding sanctions [against Russia] is in line with the completely destructive position that some officials in Brussels and in European bodies have chosen to maintain the hostile rhetoric towards Russia.

Moscow calls on the European side to search for points of intersection and common ground, which will help the efforts of European countries in a modern world characterized by high competitiveness.

Methods of imposing sanctions should be abandoned because they do not comply with the standards and spirit of international law.


This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about international sanctions against Russia. The claim was neither critically challenged nor counterbalanced in the article.

The economic sanctions imposed on Russian individuals and entities were fully in line with international law and were a reaction to Russia's illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Sanctions were imposed not only by the European Union, but also by the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and other European countries outside the EU.

The first EU sanctions against Russia were introduced on 17 March 2014. The first bans and asset freezes against persons involved in actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity followed Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea. Later, in view of Russia's actions destabilising the situation in eastern Ukraine, the EU imposed economic sanctions in July 2014 and reinforced them in September 2014. In March 2015, the European Council linked the duration of those economic restrictions to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements.

The UN does not recognise the Russian status of the temporarily occupied Crimea. The annexation has been condemned by the UNGA. Moreover, no international body recognises the so-called referendum that led to the annexation of Crimea. A year after the illegal annexation, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.

The European Union does not recognise Crimea's annexation and continues to condemn it as a violation of international law. EU sanctions continue to be in place against Russia as a consequence of the annexation.


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  • Reported in: Issue 213
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 11/09/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: EU, Russia
  • Keywords: Anti-Russian, International Law, Russophobia, Sanctions


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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