EPRS Admin By / February 17, 2022

Sanctions timeline

Sanctions timeline

Sanctions timeline

In 1994, the EU and Russia signed a partnership and cooperation agreement, which entered into force in 1997 and is still the legal framework for relations today. Among other things, the agreement envisaged bilateral EU-Russia summits twice a year. In June 2008, the two sides launched discussions on a new agreement, to form the basis of a strategic partnership. However, Russia’s war with Georgia, which broke out just two months later, highlighted the growing differences between the two sides. These differences again came to the fore in 2013, with a confrontation over Ukraine’s plans to sign an association agreement with the EU, followed by Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its support for a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.
While the EU’s response in 2008 went no further than statements expressing concern and a temporary suspension of negotiations on a new bilateral agreement, Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian sovereignty forced a major review of EU policy towards Russia. The first EU sanctions followed the annexation of Crimea in March 2014. Initially, these were individual sanctions in the form of asset freezes and visa bans, targeted at members of the Russian elite, Ukrainian separatists, and organisations associated with them. Broader economic measures did not come until later: in June 2014, the EU adopted the first restrictions on trade with Crimea, and one month later – following outrage over nearly 300 deaths caused by separatists shooting down flight MH17 – sectoral sanctions concerning arms trade, energy and financial cooperation with Russia. These measures were substantially strengthened in September 2014.


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