Chemical weapons: the EU places nine Russian persons and one entity under new sanctions regime

The European Council has imposed sanctions on nine persons and one entity under the new regime of restrictive measures against the use and proliferation of chemical weapons created on 15 October 2018.

These designations include the two GRU officials, and the Head and Deputy Head of the GRU (also known as the G.U., or the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces) responsible for possession, transport and use in Salisbury (UK) of a toxic nerve agent on the weekend of 4 March 2018.

 Sanctions are also imposed on the Syrian entity responsible for the development and production of chemical weapons, the Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC), as well as five Syrian officials directly involved in the SSRC's activities. 

These persons and entity are the first one being listed under the new chemical weapons sanctions regime. The SSRC was already listed under the Syria sanctions regime.

Sanctions consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. 

In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed. 

This decision contributes to the EU's efforts to counter the proliferation and use of chemical weapons which poses a serious threat to international security.

The legal acts, including the names of the persons concerned, will be available in the EU Official Journal of 21 January 2019.

Restrictive measures or 'sanctions' are an essential tool of the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). 

They are used by the EU as part of an integrated and comprehensive policy approach, involving political dialogue, complementary efforts and the use of other instruments at its disposal.

They can target:

  • governments of non-EU countries because of their policies
  • entities (companies) providing the means to conduct the targeted policies
  • groups or organisations such as terrorist groups
  • individuals supporting the targeted policies, involved in terrorist activities etc.

They are developed in such a way as to minimise adverse consequences for those not responsible for the policies or actions leading to the adoption of sanctions.

 In particular, the EU works to minimise the effects on the local civilian population and on legitimate activities in or with the country concerned.

All restrictive measures adopted by the EU are fully compliant with obligations under international law, including those pertaining to human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Key objectives when adopting sanctions 

  • safeguarding EU's values, fundamental interests, and security
  • preserving peace
  • consolidating and supporting democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the principles of international law
  • preventing conflicts and strengthening international security

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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