European Court upholds asset freeze of Russia’s Almaz-Antey
The General Court of the European Union dismissed the appeal by Russian missile producer Almaz-Antey to annul the continuation of the freezing of its funds for 2015 and 2016, according to a judgment handed down Wednesday, January 25.
The Court found that "the [European] Council did not act disproportionately in deciding to freeze the funds of entities supporting, materially or financially, actions of the Russian Government which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine," reads the ruling.
"The freezing of funds of such entities makes it possible to reach the objective to prevent the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine," the Court said.
Read alsoHow Russian companies bypass sanctions – mediaSuch a freeze is necessary, given that alternative and less restrictive measures are not as effective in achieving the goal pursued, "particularly given the possibility of circumventing such restrictions."
The Council established that Russia actually supplied weapons to the separatists in Eastern Ukraine. "Thus, by manufacturing weapons and military equipment and supplying them to the Russian State, which itself supplies weapons to the separatists in Eastern Ukraine, Almaz-Antey materially supports actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine," the Court said.
Furthermore, the Council produced numerous press articles reporting on the shooting down of Ukrainian army aircraft and helicopters by the separatists, including, in particular, a military cargo-plane transporting 49 soldiers. "Those press articles, which come from several different sources and are sufficiently specific, precise and consistent as regards the facts there described, corroborate the existence of Russian involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, in particular through the supply of weapons and military equipment to the separatists in Eastern Ukraine," the ruling reads.
Read alsoEU awaits updated "Sentsov list", Ukraine speaks of some hundred new names target to sanctionsAs reported earlier, in response to the crisis in Ukraine, the Council adopted, in early 2014, restrictive measures (freezing of funds and refusing entry into EU territory) against natural or legal persons whose activities are undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. In that context, the Council decided to freeze the funds of the Russian company Almaz-Antey Air and Space Defence (Almaz-Antey) on the following grounds: Almaz-Antey is a Russian state-owned company. It manufactures anti-aircraft weaponry including surface-to-air missiles which it supplies to the Russian army. The Russian authorities have been providing heavy weaponry to separatists in Eastern Ukraine, contributing to the destabilization of Ukraine. These weapons are used by the separatists, including for shooting down airplanes. As a state-owned company, Almaz-Antey therefore contributes to the destabilization of Ukraine.