EU drops sanctions on three Russian businessmen

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The EU has removed sanctions imposed on three Russian businessmen over their role in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, while renewing the broader package of measures, officials said Wednesday.

The 27-nation bloc has put some 1,600 individuals and entities on its assets freeze and visa ban blacklist since Russia launched the all-out invasion in February 2022.

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Three EU diplomats and officials said businessmen Grigory Berezkin, Farkhad Akhmedov and Alexander Shulgin were removed when sanctions were renewed for a further six months.

Russian military commander Georgy Shuvaev, who was reported killed in Ukraine, was also taken off the list.

“In the context of the sanctions’ review, the council also decided not to renew the listings of four individuals,” the EU said in a statement, without giving the names.

The revised list was set to be published in the EU official journal on Thursday.

The removal of the three businessmen comes as the EU faces a slew of legal challenges from Russian oligarchs over their inclusion on the list.

The EU has described Berezkin, whose ESN group has interests in media, and energy, as close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and said his firms were “supporting materially” the government of the Russian Federation.

Azerbaijan-born billionaire Akhmedov, involved in the oil and gas sector, was alleged to be a Kremlin ally.

Shulgin, former CEO of e-commerce platform Ozon, attended a high-profile meeting of Russian oligarchs with Putin on the second day of the war aimed at shoring up support from business for the invasion.

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