* ECJ upholds EU sanctions vs Russia over Ukraine crisis
* Move asserts court's jurisdiction over EU foreign policy
* Rosneft says ruling is politicised
(Adds Rosneft comment)
By Julia Fioretti
LUXEMBOURG, March 28 Europe's top court on
Tuesday upheld European Union sanctions on Russia over the
Ukraine conflict, including on its largest oil group Rosneft
, in a ruling that asserts the court's jurisdiction
over the bloc's foreign policy.
The EU slapped sanctions on Russia after it annexed Crimea
from Ukraine in 2014 and stepped them up as Moscow went on to
support a separatist rebellion in Ukraine's industrial east.
Rosneft's head, Igor Sechin, is a close ally of Russian
President Vladimir Putin.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) said "restrictive
measures ... in response to the crisis in Ukraine against
certain Russian undertakings, including Rosneft, are valid."
With the ruling, the ECJ established its jurisdiction to
rule on matters of the EU's common foreign and security policy,
an area of fierce contention between Brussels and national
governments seeking to maintain sovereignty.
A lawyer for Rosneft told reporters he was disappointed with
"I would also say it is a setback for judicial protection in
the EU in the area of sanctions because the court accepts (...)
the fact that a company is partially state-owned is sufficient
for it to be a target of sanctions," Lode van den Hende said.
The court said it believed encroaching on Rosneft's right to
do business was in proportion with the severity of sanctions
imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis.
"The Court holds that the importance of the objectives
pursued by the contested acts is such as to justify certain
operators being adversely affected," it said in its judgment.
Rosneft called the decision "illegal, baseless and
"The ruling shows that the rule of law in Europe is being
replaced by the rule of political situation," it said in a
"Rosneft continues to insist that it has not committed any
illegal actions in any jurisdictions where it conducts its
business, including Ukraine, and has nothing to do with the
(Additional reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow; Writing
by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel and Mark