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EU Court Upholds Sanctions On Russian Energy Companies, Banks

BRUSSELS --The European Union's General Court has upheld the bloc's sanctions regime against Russian bank and energy companies over Russia's involvement in the crisis in Ukraine.

"The General Court of the EU upholds restrictive measures adopted by the Council against a number of Russian banks and oil and gas companies in connection with the crisis in Ukraine," the court said in September 13 statement.

Energy giants Rosneft and Gazprom Neft, as well as the banks DenizBank, PSC Prominvestbank, Sberbank, and Vnesheconombank had sought to annul the sanctions imposed on them by the EU in 2014 as a response to Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and its support for separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine, where the conflict has killed more than 10,300 people in the last four years.

The EU sanctions restrict the access of the Russian banks and gas companies to some financial transactions and certain sensitive goods and technologies, as well as to capital markets in the EU, and prohibit the provision of services required for certain oil transactions.

The court said that the "stated objective of the contested acts is to increase the costs of Russia's actions to undermine Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence, and to promote a peaceful settlement of the crisis", and that "this objective is consistent with the objective of maintaining peace and international security."

With reporting by Reuters