EU lifts sanctions against four Russians, one of them dead since last year
The European Union’s official journal on Thursday published the names of four Russian citizens that were removed from the sanctions list introduced due to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
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Three of the Russians—Farhad Akhmedov, Alexander Shulgin, and Grigory Berezkin—were sanctioned as ‘influential businessmen’ in areas that fund Russian aggression.
Last week, the EU court ruled to remove Mr Shulgin, the former CEO of the Russian online retailer Ozon, from the sanctions lists. He appealed in June last year, claiming that after resigning from his position, he could no longer be considered an ‘influential businessman’.
The EU court indeed found that the council of the EU, responsible for adopting sanctions, had failed to substantiate that Mr Shulgin had not ceased to be an influential businessman after he left office.
Farhad Akhmedov, a Russian businessman of Azerbaijani origin, is 99th in the Russian Forbes ranking, his net worth in 2021 estimated at USD 1.1 billion. Mr Akhmedov is known for a conversation in which he allegedly spoke harshly and obscenely about Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Grigory Berezkin is the owner of the ESN group of companies, closely linked to the Russian government, and the RBC media holding. In 2021, he was ranked 157th in the Forbes Russia ranking with a net worth of USD 750 million.
The fourth Russian removed from the sanctions list, Georgy Shuvaev, was a colonel in the Russian army and the chief of missile and artillery troops of the 1st tank army of the Western military district of the Russian armed forces.
He was killed during the Russian-Ukrainian war in October 2022.
On Wednesday, the EU council decided to prolong the restrictive measures targeting those responsible for undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine for another six months, until 15 March 2024.
The sanctions provide for travel restrictions for natural persons, the freezing of assets, and a ban on making funds or other economic resources available to the listed individuals and entities.
"Sanctions will continue to apply to almost 1,800 individuals and entities altogether, many of which are targeted in response to Russia's ongoing unjustified and unprovoked military aggression against Ukraine," the council said in a statement.