The EU Court annulled the sanctions imposed by the Union on Prigozhin's mother

The EU Court annulled the sanctions imposed by the Union on Prigozhin's mother

The EU Court canceled the sanctions imposed by the Union on Prigozhin's mother

Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who founded the private Wagner (translated from Russian Vagnerov) army, in a 2017 archive photo. 

Luxembourg/Brussels – Today, the European Union Court annulled the sanctions imposed by the bloc on the mother of the head of the mercenary Wagner (in the Russian transcription Vagnero) group Yevgeniy Prigozhin Violetta due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year. The court announced in a press release the first ever decision regarding the lawsuit of someone from a number of relatives of Russian officials or oligarchs included on the sanctions list. Mere family ties to a person jointly responsible for Russian aggression against a neighboring country are not enough, according to the judges, to restrict rights in EU territory.

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The European group of twenty-seven began to expand Russian sanctions lists in an unprecedented way last year, after the invasion of Russian troops into Ukraine. In addition to hundreds of state, regional or army officials and oligarchs connected to the Kremlin, some of their relatives also appeared on the lists. The Union froze their assets and prohibited travel to its territory.

The 83-year-old Prigožinová has been on the list since last February, because, according to the Council of the EU, she is the owner of several companies from the Concord group founded by her son. That is why, according to the body representing the EU states, they participate in activities related to limiting the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. However, Prigozhin's lawyers questioned the decision and appealed to the EU judiciary.

According to today's decision of the Tribunal of the Court of Justice, i.e. the second highest judicial instance of the EU, the Council of the EU did not sufficiently prove that Prigozhin actually owns the company.

According to the court, the connection between Prigozhin and her son at the time of the adoption of the sanctions “was based only on their family custody, and is therefore not a sufficient reason for her inclusion” on the sanctions list.

Union authorities can appeal against the decision to the Court of Justice of the EU. According to the spokesperson of the European Commission, which prepares the sanctions lists, the EU executive is currently analyzing the tribunal's decision.

With his indiscriminate language and aggressive public demeanor, Prigozhin became one of the most visible faces of Russia's war in Ukraine. He is recruiting thousands of prisoners to fight in his units, and at the same time, he is not afraid to openly engage in conflict with the Russian Ministry of Defense over ammunition supplies, Reuters reported. When asked by the media about the verdict, the Russian billionaire responded with a certain irony. “Unfortunately, I am currently on a business trip to the territory of Donbass,” he said through his press department just hours after being filmed in front of a tank with explosions in the background.

As Prigozhin stated, his mother tried to fight this case alone, and he has no plans to challenge the sanctions that were imposed on him and the Wagnerites. “I do not intend to attack them in any way, I believe that at this moment their imposition is fully justified,” he added.

Fighters of Prigozhin's Wagner Group have been concentrating on conquering the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut in recent months, at the cost of great human casualties. losses. At the same time, Prigozhin recruited a considerable number of convicts from Russian prisons into his services. Members of his mercenary group, who are often accused of war crimes, are not only active in Ukraine, the group is also active in some African countries, for example.

Prigozhin himself has been the target of EU sanctions since 2020, in connection with by the mercenary group in other countries, including Libya and Syria. His earlier action against inclusion on the list was rejected by the EU court. The list also includes several leading members of the group, as well as Prigozhin's wife and son.