Russian metals billionaire Alisher Usmanov files appeal over EU sanctions
Russian metals billionaire Alisher Usmanov appealed the European Union’s decision to impose strict sanctions on him in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Usmanov, who owns 49% of Metalloinvest, filed an appeal at the EU’s General Court on April 29, asking the bloc’s second-highest tribunal also to suspend the sanctions until judges make a final decision, according to a court filing. A spokesperson for Usmanov declined to comment.
His case is part of an increasing number of challenges at the Luxembourg-based court since the bloc issued its first round of sanctions on Feb. 28. RT, the Kremlin-backed TV network, already lost a bid to suspend an EU ban on its broadcasts in the 27-nation bloc.
EU court fights over sanctions can last years and seldom result in victory for those targeted. Former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych and his son remain on the EU’s sanctions list since 2014, even after winning challenges to their inclusion on the 2020 version.
Germany has previously impounded Usmanov’s superyacht Dilbar, valued at as much as $750 million.
Iran’s failure to evade sanctions offers little hope for Russia
The EU announced Wednesday details of a sixth round of sanctions which includes plans to ban Russian crude oil over the next six months and refined fuels by the end of the year to further increase pressure on President Vladimir Putin.
The EU on Wednesday also proposed sanctioning Belarus’s main potash producer, Belaruskali OAO, and its export arm, Belarusian Potash Co.
Usmanov was among several billionaires, including Alfa Group owners Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven, and Severstal PJSC’s Alexei Mordashov, that were targeted in the first round of EU penalties. Roman Abramovich has also been added to the EU list.
To reinforce its Indo-Pacific strategy, and in what is being seen as a response to China's aggressive outreach to Pacific Island states, the United States (US) - along with Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Japan - announced a new Partners in Blue Pacific initiative on Friday. This month, China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, also undertook an eight country tour in the region and hosted a China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers Meeting in Fiji.
Russia's army has “fully occupied” the key Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk after weeks of fighting, its mayor said on Saturday, an important strategic win for Moscow as it seeks to gain full control over the east of the country. The industrial hub of Severodonetsk has been the scene of weeks of running battles, but the Ukrainian army said on Friday that its outgunned forces would withdraw to better defend the neighbouring city of Lysychansk.
President Joe Biden criticised the US Supreme Court for making “terrible decisions”, a day after it struck down the constitutional right to abortion. Biden commented during a signing ceremony on Saturday for gun safety bill he supports, though he continued to sidestep questions about reforms to the court sought by some Democrats. He didn't respond to other questions, such as on court or filibuster reform, before heading off to Europe for international summits.
Ukraine's Severodonetsk was "fully occupied" by the Russian army, its mayor said on Saturday, after weeks of fighting over the key eastern city. The Ukrainian army on Friday said it would withdraw its forces from the city of some 100,000 inhabitants before the war to better defend the neighbouring city of Lysychansk. Mayor Oleksandr Striuk said civilians had started to evacuate the Azot chemical plant, where several hundred people had been hiding from Russian shelling.
Ukraine said it came under "massive bombardment" Saturday from neighbouring Belarus, a Russian ally not officially involved in the conflict, the day after announcing a retreat from the strategic city of Severodonetsk. Belarus has provided logistic support to Moscow since the February 24 invasion, particularly in the first few weeks, and like Russia has been targeted by Western sanctions -- but is officially not involved in the conflict.