Answer to Written Question: Sanctions against the Russian Federation for espionage

(Source: European Parliament)

EN

E-00744/2021

Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Borrell

on behalf of the European Commission

(4.6.2021)

The Commission is aware of the events mentioned by the Honourable Member and supports the right of Member States to defend themselves against foreign malign activities.

The EU has several sanctions regimes in place under which restrictive measures against Russian individuals and entities can be, and have been, adopted.

One such a regime is the regime linked to actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine[1]. Sanctions against individuals and entities listed under this regime have recently been prolonged until 15 September 2021[2].

The EU has also imposed sanctions on specific sectors of the Russian economy in response to Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine[3]. The duration of these sanctions, first imposed in 2014, is linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk Agreements. They have been prolonged until 31 July 2021[4].

The EU has also in place horizontal sanctions regimes against cyber-attacks[5], serious human rights violations[6], and the proliferation and use of chemical weapons[7] under which Russian individuals are listed. None of these regimes, however, include criteria for designating individuals responsible for espionage.

Any decision to extend the scope of sanctions as well as to prolong them is for the Council to take, acting by unanimity.


[1] Council Decision 2014/145/CFSP of 17 March 2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A02014D0145-20201001); Council Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 of 17 March 2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A02014R0269-20201001).

[2] https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/03/12/ukraine-eu-extends-sanctions-over-territorial-integrity-for-a-further-six-months/

[3] Council Decision 2014/512/CFSP of 31 July 2014 concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A02014D0512-20201219); Council Regulation (EU) No 833/2014 of 31 July 2014 concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1575552869916&uri=CELEX:02014R0833-20190709).

[4] https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2020/12/17/russia-the-eu-prolongs-economic-sanctions-for-another-six-months/

[5] Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/797 of 17 May 2019 concerning restrictive measures against cyber-attacks threatening the Union or its Member States (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A02019D0797-20201124); Council Regulation (EU) 2019/796 of 17 May 2019 concerning restrictive measures against cyber-attacks threatening the Union or its Member States (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A02019R0796-20201124).

[6] Council Decision (CFSP) 2020/1999 of 7 December 2020 concerning restrictive measures against serious human rights violations and abuses (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32020D1999&qid=1607348004629); Council Regulation (EU) 2020/1998 of 7 December 2020 concerning restrictive measures against serious human rights violations and abuses (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32020R1998&qid=1607347944794).

[7] Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1544 of 15 October 2018 concerning restrictive measures against the proliferation and use of chemical weapons (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A02018D1544-20201015); Council Regulation (EU) 2018/1542 of 15 October 2018 concerning restrictive measures against the proliferation and use of chemical weapons (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A02018R1542-20201015).

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