A senior adviser to the European Court of Justice submitted an advisory opinion Tuesday finding the July 2014 EU economic sanctions against Russia legally valid. In response to a challenge by Russian oil and gas company Rosneft, Melchior Wathelet found all but one sanction to be valid and asked the court to adopt his opinion. While Wathelet’s opinion is non-binding, the court typically adopts the advocate general’s findings. The court is expected to issue a ruling in three to six months.
Rosneft is not the first company to have an issue with the economic sanctions. In 2014 the Russian discount airline Dobrolet suspended all flights a result of the tightening EU sanctions. The EU responded that the airline’s service from Moscow to Crimea “facilitate[d] the integration of the illegally annexed Autonomous Republic of Crimea into the Russian Federation and undermines Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.” The economic sanctions against Russia were expected to cause more damage to the Russian economy than those imposed earlier that year, though economists and analysts expected Western economies to be impacted by them as well. The sanctions targeted the country’s energy, banking and defense sectors and included a ban on the purchase or sale of new bonds, stocks or long-term debts from some Russian banks.