The General Court of the European Union has annulled EU sanctions against the mother of Russia's private army chief Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin. As the court announced today in Luxembourg, a family relationship is not sufficient to justify punitive measures against them.
At the time the sanctions were imposed, Violetta Prigozchina was apparently not the owner of companies with ties to her son, as claimed by the EU.
Placed on sanctions list on February 23, 2022
On February 23, 2022, the EU states put Violetta Prigozhina on their sanctions list in connection with the Ukraine conflict because they believed that Prigozchina "supports actions and policies that undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine ". On the other hand, the mother of the boss of the so-called Wagner Group filed a lawsuit in April.
Her lawyer argued, among other things, that the EU had disregarded the obligation to justify the sanctions decision and had made factual errors. According to the lawsuit, Prigozhina denied owning two companies founded by her son. She also argued that her ties with her son did not imply that she had in any way compromised the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The actual aim of the sanctions is to indirectly hit her son Yevgeny.
The EU describes him as a "prominent Russian businessman with close ties to President (Vladimir) Putin and the Russian Defense Ministry" and holds him responsible for dispatching Wagner Group mercenaries to Ukraine. He is also accused of profiting from Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilization of eastern Ukraine.
According to the EU, Prigozhin founded the company Konkord, which is said to have received extensive public contracts from the Russian Ministry of Defense after the annexation of Crimea and the occupation of eastern Ukraine by separatists supported by Russia.
Wagner mercenaries fight in Bachmut
In Ukraine, Prigozhin's private army is notorious for recruiting convicted murderers and other convicts, and for appearing to act with no regard for casualties. In Ukraine, Wagner mercenaries are currently fighting alongside regular Russian soldiers for control of the eastern city of Bakhmut.
The Council of Member States can still appeal the judgment in the case of Prigozhin's mother before the European Court of Justice. It is also conceivable that the member states will quickly adopt a new, better-founded decision on sanctions.