Sanctions are having an impact on Russia, exacerbating negative trends in its economy following the oil price collapse of 2014 and rooted in deep seated structural weakness. Financial sector sanctions continue to make it expensive and hard for designated Russian entities to access western finance and have a general chilling effect on foreign investment in Russia. Sanctions were not designed to impose a particular, specific, degree of pain on Russia’s economy or on the Russian people. They were designed to deliver a cost for Russia’s adventurism in Ukraine. Maintaining focus on existing Russia/Ukraine sanctions is more important than ever to continue to pressure Russia to change its Ukraine policy.
Russia has also been affected by the EU Chemical Weapons sanctions regime. Although the regime does not target one country, the designation of the two GRU officials, who are responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Salisbury, as well as the Head and Deputy Head of the GRU, sends a powerful and collective message that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable.