Porous Restrictions: Why Sanctions Against Crimea’s Annexation Don’t Work

Economic pressure might be the key way to force Russia to stop its aggression against foreign countries. But it is not working in full as it was planned to. Numerous companies and individuals find a way to break, openly or latently, sanctions imposed by the EU and US over Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Anna Kyslytska from UkraineWorld looked at them closely.

For some time now and successfully, numerous international companies have returned to Crimea and working with Russia, skirting the sanctions imposed due to annexation. Looking at recent analysis by Kharkiv Human Rights Group we see  that, after the latest Siemens scandal, the company was not alone, and that MAN, Adidas, Metro Cash & Carry, Auchan, Volkswagen, DHL, Visa, and Mastercard are also among the companies establishing links with Russia’s administration in annexed Crimea.

In 2015 Siemens’ turbines, officially contracted for a power plant in Taman (Russia), landed in Crimea. Siemens got no penalties for breaking sanctions as a Russian court refused, expectedly, to seize them. A UK law firm commented on the case, noting that “EU businesses may become less willing to trade with Russian businesses for fear of appearing to facilitate the circumvention of EU trade restrictions.” But practical subterfuge is helping some Western companies to avoid consequences and to work with Russia.

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