On 25 October 2018, the European parliament passed a non-binding resolution expressing its concerns over Russia’s actions in the Sea of Azov, in particular the construction of the Kerch Bridge and inspections of ships going through the Kerch Straight (actions that the Parliament suggests are in breach of international maritime law and Russia’s international commitments).

The Resolution welcomes the Council’s decision to impose sanctions on six companies involved in the construction of the bridge, and it calls on the Commission and Member States to assess and share information regarding potential sanctions violations by European companies thought to be involved.

The EU Parliament also requests that the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (Frederica Mogherini) consider “appropriate countermeasures” if necessary to discourage the actions of the Russian Federation, and urges the High Representative, Council and the Member States to make it clear that sanctions targeting Russia will be “reinforced” if the conflict in the Azov Sea escalates.

The resolution is non-binding, so does not have an immediate effect on EU businesses, however it was forwarded to the Council, High Representative, Commission, and EU Member States for consideration (in addition to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, NATO, and President, Government and Parliament of Ukraine, the President, Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation).

Ross Denton is a Partner in the Firm’s EU, Competition and Trade Department in London. Ross was the former head of the Firm’s International Trade and WTO Practice Group, and now serves on the Firm’s Cartel Task Force. Ross also heads up the European Trade practice for the Firm. Ross routinely advises US and Japanese multinational corporations on competition law, export controls and sanctions, customs, bribery and corruption, and public procurement. Ross is a key member of the London office Anti-Bribery and Corruption Unit. Ross regularly speaks on trade and cartel issues, and has published widely on compliance related issues. He is a member of the UK Customs Practitioners Group.