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Russian Railways feels neglected by EU, urges to lift sanctions

Source: Russian Railways (RZD)Russian Railways

Russian Railways has sent an appeal to the Council of the European Union with the urgent request to lift the sanctions that apply to the railway company. It has asked to be exempted from these sanctions three months ago, and it did not receive an answer so far, it complained.

In the appeal, Russian Railways points out “the necessity of the earliest possible consideration to lift the sanctions and make an objective decision about it”.

“More than 3 months have passed since the application was submitted to the EU Council, but it has still not been considered. The company was not notified about the reasons for such a long delay. This may indicate the degree of neglect and indifference with which the EU Council treats Russian citizens”, Russian Railways said. This was reported by, a Ukrainian news website.

Lifting sanctions

In July this year, the state-owned railway company officially asked the EU Commission to lift the sanctions that apply to the Russian Railways, claiming that they are violating.

According to the company, the EU sanctions harm passenger rights. “Sanctions aim at limiting the ability of Russian Railways to perform socially significant, humanitarian functions and are discriminatory in relation to the population of the Russian Federation. In addition, they contradict a significant number of norms of international law and acts of the EU itself”, said RZD.

First on the sanction list

RZD was among the first legal entities to enter the EU sanction lists just days after the war in Ukraine broke out. These sanctions imposed are financial. This means that doing business with Russian Railways, as an operator for a long-distance rail freight service for example, is still permitted.

The EU text reads: “It shall be prohibited to directly or indirectly purchase, sell, provide investment services for or assistance in the issuance of, or otherwise deal with transferable securities and money-market instruments, issued after 12 April 2022, with..”, followed by a detailed description of all those this applies to. On page 135 of the document, it clarifies that this applies to Russian Railways too.

Sanctions until 2023

The existing economic sanctions imposed by the EU on Russia are in place at least until 31 January 2023. In July, the Euroepan Council said that this could be prolongued if the situation in Ukraine had not stabilised. Considering the current state of the affairs, this is likely to be the case as the new year commences.

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Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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