The sanctions imposed in 2016 continue to affect Ukraine, reports Anzhela Makhinova, Partner at Sayenko Kharenko in Kyiv, as the terms keep evolving and influencing the country’s economy.
Among the recent developments in the international trade field are the further application and change of mutual trade limitations imposed by Russia and Ukraine on one another. At the end of 2017, Russia expanded an existing embargo against Ukraine goods, which led to retaliatory actions from the Ukrainian side. Moreover, sanctions imposed by the President of Ukraine under the “On Sanctions” Law of Ukraine are also subject to revision. For example, on March 6, 2018, the President of Ukraine extended sanctions on Russian banks that affect their activities in Ukraine.
Makhinova reports that restrictions applied by Russia and Ukraine on one another have, unsurprisingly, resulted in an increase in the number of WTO disputes between the two countries. At the moment, four Ukrainian and Russian disputes have been referred to the WTO. Two of them — DS 499 (initiated by Ukraine and involving Russian restrictions on Ukrainian import of railway equipment and parts, with a WTO panel report expected this spring), and DS 512 (initiated by Ukraine and involving restrictions imposed by Russia against Ukrainian transit destined to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan through its territory — are expected to be resolved by the end of 2018. Makhinova singles out DS 512 as “an extremely significant case, because these restrictions destroyed all the traditional transit routes for goods as historically applied.”