With the alleged chemical weapons deployment in Syria and the poisoning incident in Salisbury, pressure has increased for further sanctions against Russia. But what measures are already in place?

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Russia is the subject of a sanctions regime imposed in a coordinated move by the EU and the US, and by other Western allies such as Canada in reaction to the destabilisation of Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.

The sanctions consist of targeted sanctions against individuals and entities, including asset freezes and travel bans. They also set out arms embargoes and restrictions on other trade, such as on the export to Russia of technology needed for oil exploration, and restrictions on lending money to certain Russian companies and banks. The third set of sanctions set out bans on investment in and trade with Crimea.

The EU, US and other regimes are similar, but the names on the lists of individuals and entities subject to targeted sanctions have been added to from time to time and may not be the same.

In reaction to the Salisbury incident, some 130 Russian diplomats were expelled from over 25 countries and the EU Ambassador to Russia was withdrawn.

There has been mounting pressure to introduce ‘Magnitsky’ legislation in the UK. The original US Magnitsky Act provided for the officials allegedly involved in Sergei Magnitsky’s death to be sanctioned. Later it was broadened to become a general power for the US to impose sanctions against human rights abusers.

In the UK, there have been various attempts to introduce ‘Magnitsky’ powers into legislation, some of them successful. Having earlier resisted further change, arguing that sufficient powers existed already, the Government announced its intention to amend the Sanctions and Anti-money Laundering Bill presently going through parliament to include ‘Magnitsky’ powers.

  • Commons Research Briefing CBP-8284
  • Author: Ben Smith
  • Topics: Europe

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